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Heading East
But there was another bombshell still to come. Exactly a month after the launch of the new product range, the company announced that at the end of the year 2002, it would cease assembly of cycles in the UK. The proposed move to a new factory at Bulwell would not proceed. Two hundred and eighty assembly and factory jobs would be lost, leaving only a hundred or so employees, in areas such as sales, marketing, finance, product design and specification. The decision had been taken by the dozen senior executives of the company three days earlier, on 11th March 2002.
The move to Bulwell had been further delayed by an imminently pending judicial review of the planning permission. The review was initiated on environmental grounds by three holders of allotment gardens on the site, Trevor Rose, Ann Spiers and Herbert Hyman. They were funded by a Nottinghamshire farmer, Malcolm Hodgkinson, the owner of 30 acres of land in nearby Ashfield on which he wanted Raleigh to relocate.
Phillip Darnton, executive chairman of Raleigh, denied that the judicial review was a major factor in the company's decision to cancel the factory relocation. He revealed that he himself would be among the job casualties, once the transition to importation of complete cycles "built to our specified high standard by partner suppliers overseas" was complete. There was, he said, no place for a top heavy management structure. He added that Raleigh would seek an appropriate location in the Nottingham area for a distribution centre and offices, from which the company would continue to operate its own distribution fleet.
Darnton explained that profitability forecasts in the cycle industry were well down on those of two or three years ago. EU import duty of 45.6% had not stopped imports from China rising by 50% in 2001 and this protective tariff would expire in a few years. Other far-eastern countries, such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, were not subject to such tariffs and their product quality was rapidly rising. Also, recession was reducing the cost of Taiwanese cycles as factory owners struggled simply to maintain turnover. Tariff protection was, he said, insufficient in the medium term to ensure the financial viability of the necessary investment in a UK assembly plant.
Alan Finden-Crofts, Raleigh's Chief Executive Officer, said that he regretted the loss of jobs. He promised redundancy payments that would reflect the loyalty and commitment of staff "at this most difficult time."

Principal sources for this postscript
* Various reports in the Bicycle Business on-line archive.
* Companies House on-line database.
* Thanks also to David Squires and Carlton Reid for highlighting breaking news.
The author wishes to record his thanks to the following for their assistance in preparing the original paper:
* Yvonne Rix,
* Melvyn Cresswell,
* David Duffield,
* John Pinkerton,
* Alex Moulton,
* Mike Burrows,
* Andrew Millward
* and Frank Berto, whose idea it was.All pictures are reproduced with the kind permission of Raleigh-Diamondback. The graphs are copyright of Tony Hadland, who produced them from data obtained principally from Raleigh-Diamondback.
Text ŠTony Hadland, 2000
Updated February 2002

Thanks to Tony Hadland for letting us reproduce this article. There are lots of articles on Cycling History on Hadland Books web site. Including some very useful technical stuff about Sturmey Archer Gears. www.hadland.net