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Milton Pipes in Cooks Lane Sittingbourne will close its factory in the summer

16 March 2014
by Hayley Robinson

Almost 70 workers are facing an uncertain future after the closure of Milton Pipes Ltd was announced.

The Cooks Lane-based business is to shut its factory in the summer after restructuring efforts to make it profitable failed.

However, a sales office and distribution depot will be retained.

Production team staff at the 20-hectare site were told the news in a meeting on Monday.

Milton Pipes in Cooks Lane, Sittingbourne

Milton Pipes in Cooks Lane, Sittingbourne

The company, which was established 50 years ago, produces precast concrete drainage products, including manholes, gullies, inspection chambers and box culverts.

It was family-run until 2010 when it was sold to some of the directors of the CPM Group and other interested parties. The firm says it will complete all of its contractual obligations to customers.

It is understood the owners are in negotiations with six companies interested in setting up shop on the land, either by buying plots or signing long leases.

In turn, it has been agreed the companies will offer around 40 positions to the “at risk” candidates when they start trading.

In a letter, deputy managing director Nick Gainsford said: “Over the last four years we restructured and tried to make a profitable business. However, with the recession and costs increasing, this has not been possible.

“The directors have sought new business on the Milton Pipes’ land and at this time, some 40 job opportunities have been secured for the 68 workers that Milton Pipes Limited will be making redundant.

“The closure will start in April and will be conducted over an extended period with production finishing by the end of June and site clearance completed by the end of this year.”

Gordon Henderson MP

Gordon Henderson MP

 

MP Gordon Henderson said: “It was always on the cards that production at the facility would cease at some point.

“When the current owners took over the company, they were open about their long-term objective of rationalising production, which was spread across a number of sites in the UK.
“I am still disappointed to see the possible loss of jobs and will do what I can to help them find alternative employment in my constituency.”

Since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, the town has lost dozens of businesses including Woolworths, Brittain & Hobbs, Bare Bones, Clinton Cards, Birthdays, A Thomsett Fishmongers, Stadium Sports and Nickel Books.

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