NEARLY 200 jobs could be lost in Wealdstone if an international paint manufacturer pushes ahead with plans to close its factory in the town.
The ColArt Group announced on Thursday (July 1) that it wished to shut its building in Whitefriars Avenue by the end of next year, leading to an estimated 190 redundancies.
The factory opened in 1937 and currently operates at its normal capacity, with employees working to a shift system, to produce artists' fine paints.
Neil Robson, managing director of ColArt Fine Art and Graphics, said: “We are proud of our committed and skilled workforce at Wealdstone, and it is with much regret that we have had to consider this proposal.
"If the proposal is to proceed, the long timescale of the transition will allow us to support the employees in a responsible manner.
"Sadly Wealdstone’s physical location, in the heart of a residential area, makes it difficult to absorb additional capacity, and it is with regret that the company must consider a proposal to close the site by end of next year."
A company spokesman said the company wished to consolidate its operations by shutting on of its five UK sites, the other four being in Lowestoft in Suffolk, Colchester in Essex, Kiddeminster in Northamptonshire, and Minehead in Somerset.
He said the Wealdstone factory's surroundings of houses and schools meant it could not expand to take on additional work whereas the other warehouses could, and that if the closure was approved, work at the factory would be gradually wound down next year.
The Whitefriars Avenue site is also houses the ColArt Group's headquarters and its research and development division, which will be relocated if the manufacturing side of the business is lost.
However, the spokesman said where the head office will be moved to is unclear until a decision has been made on the factory's future at the end of the 90-day consultation with the unions.
He also said that "redeployment opportunities" may exist to find employees a job at the company's other factories.