Jobs axed by nursery firm

By Richard SmithA GARDEN centre and nursery company has axed more than 10 jobs - but said new staff will be employed if it receives permission for a multi-million-pound redevelopment plan.

By Richard Smith

A GARDEN centre and nursery company has axed more than 10 jobs - but said new staff will be employed if it receives permission for a multi-million-pound redevelopment plan.

Eleven men and women have been made redundant by Woodbridge-based Notcutts across a number of departments at its headquarters and outlying sites in east Suffolk.

Notcutts announced in February that it would pull out of bare-root tree production due to declining demand and staff would be redeployed at the main nursery site in Pettistree.


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But the company suffered when the poor spring weather led to a downturn in trade and it had to review staffing levels.

However, group managing director, William Notcutt, said yesterday he was optimistic about the future.

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Mr Notcutt added he was confident that if Suffolk Coastal District Council approved the company's revised redevelopment plan for its site in Ipswich Road, Woodbridge, there would be extra jobs for more than 20 people.

“The loss of jobs is a very small number in the context of Notcutts overall. It is only 11 out of 230-odd that are employed by the nursery nationally and out of 1,300 employed as a business in total,” he said.

“We have redeployed within the business an awful lot of staff, but in looking at the labour profile and mixture of staff that we require, we have had to reduce the core staff level.

“As a business, we are changing and our traditional market of open ground products, which we used to sell to the local authorities and councils, has been overtaken by the growing side of the business.

“This is selling container grown plants to the garden centres and retail markets and, as a direct result, we stopped the growing of trees.”

The trend towards smaller gardens with fewer trees, falling demand from European countries and insurance companies discouraging the planting of trees close to properties have affected demand.

The increasingly erratic weather patterns have also hit the garden retailer and Mr Notcutt said: “Trying to predict customer demand with a perishable product which can take three, and in some cases, five years to produce, is very hard.”

Notcutts is now preparing its revised redevelopment scheme, which is due to be unveiled later this month.

The first plan, for a larger garden centre, housing, a medical centre, sheltered housing and a nursing home, was rejected by the district council by one vote in February.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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