ONE of Ilkeston’s biggest employers, which was forced to slash a third of its workforce in the town last year, is now set to move to Derby.
Gardner Aerospace has announced it has secured a multi-million pound deal to relocate its headquarters from Cotmanhay Road to a new site in Sinfin.
The firm, which is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of aerospace components with clients including Rolls Royce, made 100 workers redundant at its Burnley site last week in order to transfer all its operations to Victory Park, Sinfin.
Business development director Nick Guttridge said the move, expected to take place within 12 to 18 months’ time, means all of its Ilkeston employers are being offered the option of transferring to the new site, 13 miles away.
He said: “I think the fact that the new site is within commuting distance of most people who work here, it’s probably not going to make a huge difference, hopefully, to our staff.
“All the people who wish to move to the new site are not exactly moving far.”
But the news will still come as a blow to the local economy with one of the largest manufacturing plants in Ilkeston being moved out of the borough.
Mr Guttridge confirmed that the Ilkeston premises will be sold but he said a buyer has not yet been sought.
The Sinfin site is a 50,000 square metre plot, which is set to be expanded by another 50,000 square metres.
Workers were furious in August 2010 when the firm let 69 of its 240 staff go, blaming the economic downturn.
But Mr Guttridge said that new jobs will be created at the new site.
“The fact that we have been able to go out and buy a site shows we are not in any financial difficulties,” he said.
“However the reality of the market place we operate in is that it is competitive.
“In particular last year there was a significant downturn in demand from the market for business jets and regional jets.”