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ColArt 'welcomes' council efforts to find Harrow home after Winsor and Newton factory closes


By Jack Royston

AN art company due to close its Wealdstone factory has “welcomed” efforts by Harrow Council to find a home in the borough for its headquarters.

Colart will make 190 people redundant when it shuts Winsor and Newton, in Whitefriars Avenue, but says it will base its headquarters, museum and research and development facilities in Britain.

The council is hoping to keep the company in the borough, preventing 80 jobs from going elsewhere, and there is a possibility artist studios and a gallery will be set up.

Neil Robson, managing director of ColArt, said: “We welcome the continued support of Harrow Council to find a suitable location for our head office group and look forward to continued discussions with them on this.”

Councillor Bill Stephenson, leader of the council, said: “While we are disappointed that Colart has decided to move its manufacturing operations, the company is retaining up to 80 staff in its headquarters and we believe there is an excellent case for those jobs to stay in Harrow.

“We are offering the company all the help available to find new premises in the borough, and we will, of course, continue to support those staff facing redundancy.”

The factory, which has been open since 1937, supplies Prince Charles' household and Winsor and Newton was given a royal warrant by Queen Victoria in 1841.

But the site will close by the end of 2011, with phased reductions in staff starting in January.

ColArt says Wealdstone is too residential an area to allow it to expand its operation and is therefore moving manufacturing to Le Mans, in France.

Cllr Stephenson, Councillor Phil O'Dell, Navin Shah, London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow, and Mark Billington, head of the council's economic unit, met the company on Thursday.


Navin Shah says:

I had previously met with trade union representatives at ColArt to discuss the future of the business and the job security of their members. Whilst disappointed that ColArt has decided to move production to France, I am pleased to see that the staff currently working in the headquarters will not be losing their jobs.

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22nd November 2010