Lister Shearing may follow Lister Petter out of Dursley as it contemplates its future

Lister Shearing in Dursley

Lister Shearing in Dursley

First published in News
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Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , senior reporter covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge, Sharpness, Slimbridge, Berkeley, Coaley, Uley, North Nibley, Stinchcombe and Cambridge

ANOTHER major employer could be poised to quit Dursley, as it aims to decide its future in the next month.

Lister Shearing, which has an 80-strong workforce based in Long Street, said this week that no decision had been taken concerning rumours that the firm would be moving to a site in Stonehouse.

Managing director Alun Williams said nothing had been decided yet and Stonehouse was just one option they were still considering, including moving to the Littlecombe development site in Dursley.

"It is correct to say we are looking at a place in Stonehouse," he said.

"We have still not decided. I am hoping we will be deciding in the next month or so.

"The problem with Littlecombe is that it is expensive. The industrial units down the bottom are very expensive."

The news comes barely a week after the flagship company of the town, Lister Petter, which has 200 employees, announced it would be moving to Hardwicke.

A source close to Lister Shearing told the Gazette that employees were concerned about a possible move to Stonehouse.

"Many of the factory workers live in Dursley and have worked there for 15 years," she said.

"They are not going to be able to get there, it is going to be a real problem for them."

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The Littlecombe development site sits between Dursley and Cam and contains housing and industrial units built by developers St Modwen after Lister Petter sold the land in 2000.

The hope was initially for both engineering firm Lister Petter and Lister Shearing, which manufactures animal shearing equipment, to move into the new industrial units and for their current factories to be dismantled to allow an extension of the Littlecombe site.

Mike Doughty, company secretary of Vale Vision Development Trust, which seeks to improve the Dursley and Cam area, said that it would be a shame if they did move.

"It is disappointing if they have to leave too because they can’t find the right premises here," he said.

"It is very disappointing for the employees who may wish to stay. In the longer term it does mean Littlecombe can continue to develop the land though. The town does benefit from these businesses relocating."

In December 2011 Stroud District Council, which now owns the land at Littlecombe, vowed to keep the firm in the town and has been in negotiations with the company and developers St Modwen.

At the time the cost of moving to the site for the company was thought to be in the region of £3.5 million.

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said he would support Lister Shearing in whatever decision they made.

"If they are moving to somewhere else, then that is part of their business plan because they are developing and extending their products and actually increasing their sales quite radically," he said.

"Keeping firms in the area is obviously good and I can understand the problems getting from Dursley to Stonehouse and I will talk to people about that.

"They've got to take their own business decisions and I will do what I can to support them."

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