The owner of a bespoke furniture and joinery workshop in Kings Langley is “not sleeping at night” as an approved planning application looks set to end his business.
Ray Birdseye, who owns Adroit Workshops in Rectory Farm, said he will most likely be forced to close his business of 29 years and find a new job after housing developments on the Kings Langley farm were given the green light.
The application, from developers Angle Property, will see land at Rectory Farm redeveloped into 55 homes consisting of 15 one and two-bedroom apartments and 40 two, three and four-bedroom houses.
Ray has been manufacturing bespoke furniture, long case clocks and specialist joinery in his Rectory Farm unit for 11 years.
He told KingsNews: “I’ve been really comfortable here and I think the community’s got to know us very well from this area.
“The last owner of Rectory was very pro-small business, but when they sold it to Angle Property, they made it clear that 29 years of business is ‘a good enough run.’ Their focus is on housing because that’s where the money is at these days.
“I’ve been on the lookout for other affordable units in the area and frankly, there just aren’t any. I found a decent one in the past but the owner told me straight up: ‘If a big developer makes me an offer, I’ll be taking it.’
“Local businesses just aren’t the focus of these companies anymore. If a developer wants to cut down trees or woodland to build houses then people are up in arms, as well as the authorities, concerning the impact on wildlife. Yet if a developer wants to knock down a few units to build houses then nobody gives a damn about potential impact on people’s lives and livelihood.”
For Ray, Adroit is more than just a business – it’s a significant aspect of his life.
He said: “It’s taken 29 years to put this together and now all of a sudden, I’m probably going to have to sell everything I’ve got on Ebay and go and find a job in my early 60s.
“I’m not being made redundant, I’m literally losing my livelihood. My son’s in his mid-20s and he was most likely going to take over this business one day, that was the plan. I had him on an apprenticeship a few years ago and he went to college, really with this in mind. And now that’s all gone too.”
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