£2m business deal stalls after Remploy sale delay


Staff reporter

BUSINESS worth £2 million could come to Wrexham if the bid to take over the town’s Remploy site goes ahead.

That was the message from the man seeking to purchase the Railway Road-based factory, Ivan Timmis - who is chief executive of manufacturing company Disability Employment.

Mr Timmis said the bid to buy the factory – which closed in August – would be worth about £1 million.

A business plan is in place and after one year he estimates the factory would bring in £2 million worth of business.

Mr Timmis was in Wrexham on Friday to discuss his proposals at the Guildhall with the former Remploy workers and politicians.

“I have looked at a number of Remploy factories across the country and I am interested in three of them, which includes Wrexham,” he said.

“There are a number of reasons why Wrexham interests me. The quality of the staff is very high, they use sophisticated machinery and are hard working.”

Mr Timmis revealed negotiations with the Remploy board to take over the factory at Wrexham had been on-going for months. He said waiting for an outcome was frustrating.

“If David Cameron gave us a meeting I think we would be able to get into that factory within a week.”

If the deal falls through Mr Timmis hopes it would be possible to set up a business at a site on an industrial estate in Wrexham.

Mr Timmis praised support he had been given from Wrexham Council, council leader Cllr Neil Rogers, Cllr David Bithell and Wrexham MP Ian Lucas.

He highlighted the eagerness of the former Remploy staff to get back to work saying the site’s Unite shop steward Ray Lonsdale was in regular contact with him. Mr Lucas has written to the Secretary of State for Wales David Jones asking him to assist everyone in Wrexham who is trying to get the Remploy factory re-opened.

“Strenuous efforts are being made to try to re-employ the individuals made redundant at the Remploy factory,” says Mr Lucas in his letter.

“Wrexham Council, Disability Employment, Welsh Government officials and myself have been involved in a number of meetings to try to take matters forward.”

After the meeting Mr Lucas said the workers are to ask Mr Jones for help directly after a series of appeals to both Remploy and the Department for Work and Pensions arrived at a stalemate.

“The situation is absurd. The Government says it wants to help people into work. Yet here is a company which wants to provide work. There are people who want to work. There is a site where that work could be carried out.

“But the Government is dithering while people are desperate for jobs.

“The workers decided they wanted to ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he could help them and if he would meet them face to face.”

Former assembly worker Nicholas Green, 42 from Acrefair, said: “It was a positive meeting, but frustrating about the delays. We are raring to get back to work.”

See full story in the Leader

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