Door opens on recovery

THE future is looking brighter for major Barnstaple employer Leaderflush Shapland after the door manufacturer announced it will be recruiting new staff for its Anchorwood bank site. Some product lines are being moved to North Devon and although the factor

THE future is looking brighter for major Barnstaple employer Leaderflush Shapland after the door manufacturer announced it will be recruiting new staff for its Anchorwood bank site.

Some product lines are being moved to North Devon and although the factory only needs eight new staff at present, it is seen as a huge boost for the area after the company had to shed 134 jobs from its Barnstaple site last May, at the height of the recession.

A total of 170 people are still employed at the site, formerly known as Shapland and Petter, which has provided jobs for people in North Devon for more than 150 years.

"We are not closed as people thought, but are re-organising, restructuring and focusing on growing again," Barnstaple site director Rob Llewellyn told the Gazette.


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"We have a very healthy order book for the next quarter and the future is looking positive."

Mr Llewellyn said moving the new line - a joinery partition system such as those used in offices - to Barnstaple, followed some reorganisation in the group, which has its head office in Nottingham.

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Now part of its Anchorwood Bank factory, which was to be vacated, is going to be brought back to life ready to produce the new products.

The company is looking to recruit eight new employees with a mixed bag of skill sets to run the CNC machines which will be producing the products.

Mr Llewellyn said since last year the company had brought some 13 of its previous employees back into the business and would consider rehiring others if they wished to apply.

Part of the new production line has already gone live and the rest is to follow in May.

"We've been through some tough times," said Mr Llewellyn, "but this is good news for the local community and gives confidence for the business here."

North Devon Council Leader Des Brailey was also buoyed by the news: "As the ward member for the area I am delighted that we have been able to encourage more work at Leaderflush Shapland and it shows that we have a dedicated professional workforce in North Devon," he said.

"We will do everything we can to help them and we have been doing so.

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