60 jobs at risk in Kirkby

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More than 60 jobs could be lost after a Kirkby building contractor was plunged into administration.

R and K Landscapes Ltd on Sidings Road, Lowmoor Business Park, has traded for more than 40 years but specialist restructuring and recovery firm - FRP Advisory - were called in on Friday as a result of what they described as a ‘sharp deterioration in trading conditions earlier this year’.

However, a sale for much of the R and K Landscapes, which had employed 105 people, was completed on the same day to Alliance Construction Solutions Ltd, saving 43 of the existing jobs.

Chris Stirland, partner at FRP Advisory, and joint administrator to R and K Landscapes, said the company had been marketed for sale during August and September where a number of options were explored to try and safeguard the business.

He added: “We are delighted to have secured the future of much of this well-known construction firm, securing 43 jobs in the process under a new company structure.

“The business had traded successfully for a number of years until a tough economic climate in recent months affected its cash flow, putting unsustainable financial pressure on its previous corporate and financial structure. We wish everyone involved with the on-going business continued success.

“In the meantime we are exploring options regarding the future for the remaining parts of the R and K Landscapes business and its associated staff in the interests of all concerned but at this stage there can be no certainty about any outcome.”

The Chad reported only last week that 20 jobs were being created with plans for a new department store on the Haldanes site in Kirkby, but the latest news is a blow to the town’s economic recovery.

Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero said: “I was extremely concerned when I heard the news and all of the staff and their families will obviously be worried.

“The most important thing is that those who work there receive the best possible help and advice and are kept fully up to date on developments at all times.

“It is very disappointing and comes at a time when we are desperate to retain jobs as well as create them locally.

“I know many of those affected will be my constituents and if anyone would like support during this difficult period then please do get in touch with my office and I’ll do all I can to help.”

FRP Advisory would not comment on claims that numerous firms around the region are still owed money by R and K Landscapes, who specialised in construction, maintenance and water infrastructure repairs.

But the owners of R Smith Contractors on Forest Road, Kirkby, said they had worked with the R and K Landscapes for more than 30 years, and say they were still owed around £40,000.

Co-owner Mrs M Smith said: “We heard on Friday and we were shocked.

“We have not able to speak with them since it happened, no-one is answering the phone. They were brilliant to work with at first, but over the last few months they have been slow in paying, and we’ve had to ring them up.

“We’re not sure if we will get this money back, we’re just stunned.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Alliance Construction is to be run by Jason Gregory, John Mattinson and Andrew Wood, all former directors of R and K Landscapes. It will also operate in the same premises on the industrial estate under a new rental agreement. The joint administrations are currently marketing the freehold ownership of the premises for sale.