AN HISTORIC mechanised laundry in North Kensington is closing down with 75 workers set to lose their jobs.
Bosses of the White Knight Laundry blame 'commission-motivated' parking wardens from Kensington and Chelsea Council to a decline in their fortunes, which has prompted them to relocate to Greenford.
Its existing site in Kensal Road struggles to handle large laundry delivery vehicles, meaning they sometimes were left sticking out of the loading bays.
Manager Peter Tomlins said: "Despite letters to the Council explaining the predicament, wardens continued with a predatory attitude. I used the word 'predatory' because some wardens waited on the spot for the offence to occur, knowing that within the daily manoeuvring of vans, an infringement was inevitable. This is a very heavy handed tactic for a business trying its best to provide a service to customers."
Despite major investment in the site in the early 1990s, it would need a large renovation if it were to comtinue to accommodate an expanding laundry business.
The site has now been sold to a developer, and the proceeds will be invested at other sites operated by White Knight in Greenford, Reading, Eastbourne and Woking.
Mr Tomlins added: "The directors are pleased that many staff have taken up the opportunity to transfer their employment to other sites within the group, leaving some 75 staff to accept redundancy. Whilst the directors are sad to lose the services of this number of loyal and hardworking employees, they are keen to see the business move on and develop."
The closure of the site breaks historic ties with the local community since 1933. In the 1970s, gunmen were pursued into the building by police and the villains tossed their guns underneath the calendar machines (commercial 'ironers').
In the wartime Blitz, the father of the present chairman sat in a deck chair on the roof for night time fire watching duty, quenching incendiary bombs with a stirrup pump and a bucket of water. He was there the night the gasometer at the end of Kensal Road (now Sainsbury's) blew up.
A council spokesman said: "We’ve looked at what White Knight said and the reality is that between 2006 and 2011 30 parking tickets were issued to White Knight vehicles. That’s equal to five a year, hardly the stuff of a predatory attitude."