Leaderflush bosses announce factory closure
13:32 19 September 2012
Around 75 jobs to go at celebrated Barnstaple door maker.
ONE of Barnstaple’s oldest factories is to close, with the loss of around 75 jobs.
Work at doormaker Leaderflush Shapland is expected to cease at the end of November, ending a manufacturing association with the town spanning more than 150 years.
Workers were told yesterday (Tuesday) that a review by new owners Laidlaw Interiors Group (LIG) has failed to find a commercially viable solution to safeguard the Anchorwood Bank operation.
The announcement followed Office of Fair Trading approval and completion of Laidlaw’s acquisition of Mansfield-based door manufacturer Timbmet Door Solutions Ltd on Monday.
Production is likely to be transferred to Mansfield and other sites in Nottingham, Sheffield, and India. Part of the Raleigh Works site has already been sold to developers looking to build an Adsa supermarket.
Group CEO, John Jefferies said: “Following the sale of the Raleigh Works site, we have looked at all options to maintain door manufacturing in the Barnstaple area.
“Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a commercially viable solution and are now consulting with our employees over the potential closure of the factory and the transfer of manufacturing to our other sites.
“We will however continue to have a commercial office in Barnstaple to support our wider business and look forward to continuing to be an employer in North Devon.
“I would like to personally thank our employees in Barnstaple for their pride, loyalty, professionalism and commitment during this difficult period.”
At the Barnstaple Fair opening ceremony in the guildhall earlier today (Wednesday), leader of North Devon Council Brian Greenslade said it was a sad day for the town.
“We did try to persuade the new owners to take up manufacturing in the town but we are where we are,” he said.
The closure looks set to bring a depressing end to a turbulent time for workers and their families that began in 2009 with news that 134 jobs were axed from the 293-strong workforce.
Laidlaw, who bought SIG Interiors Manufacturing in August last year, said it had carried out a ‘comprehensive review’ following the sale of the site and scheduled closure of the factory by previous owners.
In a statement the company said it had commenced appropriate dialogue with the employee representatives as part of a consultation process with employees affected by the decision to close.
It said: “This will include opportunities for alternative employment at other sites within the Group.
“We will however continue to have a commercial office in Barnstaple to support our wider business and look forward to continuing to be an employer in North Devon.”