County throws door factory a lifeline

DEVON County Council is placing a big order with Barnstaple door factory Leaderflush Shapland, which is seeking to make 160 workers redundant. The order is to supply doors to the award-winning new Bideford College. Devon County Council announced it is a

DEVON County Council is placing a big order with Barnstaple door factory Leaderflush Shapland, which is seeking to make 160 workers redundant.The order is to supply doors to the award-winning new Bideford College. Devon County Council announced it is asking Leaderflush Shapland to supply the doors for the major building project in a substantial order.The news was announced as the firm continued negotiations with the GMB union over the level of redundancies.Originally, it was announced that 185 of the 293 jobs would have to go. Negotiations last week reduced that number to 160Managing director Todd Altman said: "This would leave 133 people working on our Barnstaple site, making Leaderflush Shapland a significant employer in this area on an ongoing basis."He said initial reports that the riverside factory was to close altogether were inaccurate and damaging to the business.But he said plans to relocate the factory to Roundswell remained on hold."We are currently unable to fund the move through the sale of our land at Anchorwood Bank," he said.Devon County Council leader and Barnstaple councillor Brian Greenslade said the authority was bringing forward its announcement of the order because of the difficulties Leaderflush Shapland was facing."We had intended to place the order with Leaderflush Shapland, but we are bringing the announcement forward to see if it can help in the current negotiations over how many jobs will be lost at the factory," said Mr Greenslade."It is vital in this current global recession that Devon County Council does all it can to stimulate the local economy."The new Bideford College has been named as the most sustainable school design in the national Excellence in Building Schools for the Future Awards.Devon County Council developed the �54 million Bideford College project in conjunction with NPS South West property consultants, and being delivered by Morgan Ashurst.Environmentally friendly technology is being used throughout and the college will become a teaching and learning tool and a focus for the whole of the community.Mr Greenslade said: "Leaderflush Shapland are nationally recognised for the high quality of their doors and we were keen to use them anyway. "Bideford College is not just a new school. It is a flagship project for Devon which is winning us a national reputation."Our aim is to ensure Devon is the greenest county in the land and successful projects like this only serve to demonstrate our determination to make this aspiration a reality."But in these credit-crunch times, the construction of this major new development is also pumping money into the local economy with a high proportion of the workers involved coming from North Devon."The announcement of the contract comes as Devon County Council confirms it will inject more than �180 million into the local economy over the next two years in another major programme of school building.The programme - to improve and replace schools and facilities for children, young people and families across the county - was approved by Devon's Executive Committee last week.Hundreds of people in the building trade will be employed on the new projects.


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