Jobs saved at Ottery timber depot

PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 16:43 14 April 2010

JOBS have been saved at an Ottery timber depot after a local firm was nearly felled by the current economic crisis.

JOBS have been saved at an Ottery timber depot after a local firm was nearly felled by the current economic crisis.

Payne Timber has been rescued from closure by Cornish-based firm Duchy Timber Ltd, saving around 14 jobs at its depot in the Finnimore Industrial Estate.

The firm ran into financial difficulties in the summer after building industry bulk orders dried up, causing a loss of more than 50 per cent trade during June, July, and August. Former managing director, Andy Halpin, 43, who founded the business 14 years ago, said last month's flooding left him with no option but to sell.

Mr Halpin will stay on as manager of the Ottery branch and said: "We fought tooth and nail since the summer to keep going but the flood was the last straw for us. All of our machinery was under water and knackered, the water lifted up the tarmac causing more than £100,000 of damage and £30,000 to £40,000 of uninsured timer was left lying in a muddy heap in the yard."

Although the firm is now owned by Duchy Timber it will keep its original name.

Mr Halpin said: "We have kept the name because Duchy Timber is not known in Devon, where we have been trading for 14 years and have spent a lot of time and money building up a good reputation and we can now get back to being a local business supplying local people."

"I don't think we've seen the worst of the recession yet, but I do believe it will mean a return to the old standards of trading, where emphasis is placed on trading locally and taking care of your customers."

Duchy sources the majority of its home-grown timber from Devon and Cornwall.

A company spokesperson said: "Using timber felled in the West Country can only have benefits for the community as we use local haulers and local labour.

"There is also the added bonus of the reduction of the carbon footprint of the timber we sell, making it more environmentally friendly.

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