South Scotland

Job losses as Robert Noble mill in Peebles to close

Robert Noble mill Image copyright MOorbrook Textiles

An historic Borders textile mill is to close with the loss of 87 jobs.

March Street Mills in Peebles will close by the end of the year, after its parent company failed to find a buyer.

The plant produces fabric for the Robert Noble and Replin Fabrics brands, which came under Moorbrook Textile ownership in the 1990s.

The firm's managing director Ian Laird said they received "no credible offers" for the business as a going concern.

"We are extremely disappointed that, despite significant investment in the mill over the last 10 years, we have been unable to secure a buyer," he added.

"We fully appreciate the impact closure will have on our employees and the local community and our focus in the coming days will be on supporting them at this difficult time."

The move will not affect manufacturing at Moorbrook's mill in Ayrshire and some Peebles staff may be offered the opportunity to relocate to that site.

He said the firm will work with customers, suppliers and government agencies "to minimise the impact of closure".

'Big blow'

"As part of these discussions we will begin planning for decommissioning of the site itself, as well as consulting with staff on the completion of existing customer orders," he added.

The origins of Robert Noble date back to 1666, when it was established under the David Ballantyne name in Galashiels.

Robert Noble supplies fabrics and design services to leading fashion and clothing brands.

Replin Fabrics, which produces textiles for the transportation industry, was established in 1945.

Mr Laird said: "Replin Fabrics and Robert Noble have strong global reputations and we are continuing to have discussions with a number of parties with a view to identifying suitable buyers for the brands and product portfolios but regrettably these will have no impact on the future of the mill itself."

The firm announced in May a 30 day consultation on possible plans to close the mill.

It claimed the "seasonal and volatile nature of the business", as well as changes in global demand were to blame for the decision.

'Difficult time'

Tweedale West councillor Keith Cockburn said the closure of the plant will be a "big blow" for Peebles.

"I am saddened and disappointed that this historic and well-kent local employer will cease manufacturing in Peebles," he said.

"This will come as a big blow to the work force and their families as well as the overall economy of the town.

"We are all aware that it will be difficult to find full employment locally for such a large number of skilled workers."

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government was concerned about the job losses.

"This will be a difficult time for the company's employees and their families and for the wider local community," he said.

"The Scottish government stands ready to assist the affected employees through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE)."

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