26 jobs go as Dereham factory closes

A Dereham roof truss maker has been closed down by administrators due to the construction and housing market slump, with a loss of 26 jobs.Administrators who have taken over Palgrave Brown have announced the loss of 400 jobs in total at the Lancashire-based firm.

A Dereham roof truss maker has been closed down by administrators due to the construction and housing market slump, with a loss of 26 jobs.

Administrators who have taken over Palgrave Brown have announced the loss of 400 jobs in total at the Lancashire-based firm.

It had 17 branches across the UK including one at Westfield Road in Dereham, where staff were employed selling mainly roof trusses.

Other sites in East Anglia were at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and Colchester, in Essex. The firm had a reported turnover of £66m earlier this year.

The move into administration was blamed on the steep downturn in the construction and house-building industries.

Joint administrators Graham Newton, Dermot Power and Toby Underwood from the Manchester office of BDO Stoy Hayward were appointed earlier in November when the firm employed more than 491 staff nationally.

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It cut 193 jobs and then another 207 jobs. One site has been sold on, at Brinscall, Lancashire, with 47 jobs saved.

Mr Newton, partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: “Palgrave Brown is a casualty of the well-documented contraction of the construction and house-building industries.

“This sudden and steep downturn is at the centre of the company's current difficulties.

“Palgrave Brown was a well-established business, but given the conditions in the construction sector at present, it has not been possible to achieve a going concern sale of the whole of the business and this has, unfortunately, resulted in further redundancies.”

Palgrave was the subject of a £10m management buyout deal in 1998, led by Richard Fawcett, former chief executive of builders merchant Jewson.

Back then the firm had a £25m turnover and 310 staff, 29 of those based at Dereham, its only East Anglian branch.

The firm produced timber engineered products, including roof trusses, staircases, doors and wooden canopies.

Stoy Hayward is still working to find new owners for three remaining sites.