A LEADING manufacturing company that has been a key employer in Dursley for over 100 years is packing up and moving to pastures new.

Lister Shearing, which has designed and manufactured animal shearing and clipping equipment in Dursley since 1909, whose products can be found all over the world, is currently relocating to a larger, more modern premises in Stonehouse.

Half the factory has already set up shop at its new home, with office staff expected to move next week and the rest of the equipment being shipped over n the coming month.

Managing director Mark Grant, who took over in January after being a sales director for the firm, told the Gazette the company had enjoyed considerable success in recent years, virtually doubling the workforce in five years to 73 people.

“We’re sorry to leave Dursley, we tried very hard to stay here,” he said.

“Our history is in Dursley but unfortunately the powers that be couldn’t help us and Stonehouse was the next most logical choice.”

Mr Grant added that he was pleased that nobody was leaving the company because of the move, after some staff highlighted concerns about moving away from town when it was announced in February last year.

“We have been very fortunate,” he said.

“Obviously there’s lots of people in Dursley that will have to travel but they can see a bright future at the new place. There’s a lot of skill and experience here and we want to take that with us.

“It’s very exciting, not just for me but for everyone in the team.”

Mr Grant took over from the retiring Alun Williams who was integral to the company’s buyout in 1999 from Lister Petter and Dursley historian David Evans, who wrote a book on the firm’s history, lauded his input.

“Alun’s dynamism has made Lister Shearing a thriving concern, in contrast to what has happened to Lister Petter itself,” he said.

“My reaction to the move is a mixture of emotions really. It’s quite sad that they couldn’t find somewhere else on the Lister site.

“Good luck to them because they have been a success story for Dursley.”

Lister Shearing bought the freehold for a 43,000 sq ft building at Stroudwater Business Park for an undisclosed sum last year, while Lister Petter recently entered administration before being saved in a last minute buyout.

The company was renamed Doset Road One, and the staff and equipment moved to Minchinhampton.

The departures open the way for Stroud District Council’s Littlecombe development site to continue, which involves the construction of around 600 houses and industrial units on the land with developer St Modwen.