UPDATED: Fate of Barnstaple textile factory hangs in the balance

Workers told of ‘bleak’ trading conditions although company say no decision on closure has been made.

THE owners of a fabric and textiles firm have announced its Barnstaple factory could close, ending nearly 200 years of production in the town.

Members of staff at Heathcoat Fabrics, formerly known as Small & Tidmas, were told yesterday (Tuesday) that trading conditions looked ‘bleak’.

A statement released this afternoon (Wed) indicated the business, which employs 35 people, could be relocating to Tiverton with a decision expected in the next couple of weeks.

Managing director Cameron Harvie said the ongoing recession in Europe had lead to a significant downturn in customer requirements.

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He said: “Despite the hard work and commitment of employees, as well as some restructuring of the Barnstaple business, the unit has continued to struggle.

“As a result, a range of options is currently being discussed; one of which is potentially relocating the business to Tiverton.

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“No final decision has been made.”

The company, which produces warp knitted fabrics, operates a dyeing and finishing facility in Barnstaple.

Operations director Kevin Faulkner told the Gazette: “Trading is in a difficult situation but no final decision has been made at this stage.

“A couple of members of staff took voluntary redundancy before Christmas.”

The Vicarage Street factory, the site of textile production since 1825, became a division of Tiverton-based Heathcoat Fabrics in June 2012.

Check back for more information as we have it.

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