Ballymena auction house facing possible closure due to “soft border approach”
A commercial auction house in Ballymena is facing closure in the coming weeks as John Pye & Sons Limited consider relocating their only site in Northern Ireland.
In a statement issued to Love Ballymena on Friday evening, 17th November, the company attributed blame to Brexit, saying the "soft border approach" and lack of "new trade legislation" was making operating "challenging".
John Pye Auctions, the UK's largest auction house, opened in May 2021 at a 3.5 acre site in the Galgorm area of Ballymena. The family-run firm offers a wide range of consumer products and liquidation stock from leading retailers, such as John Lewis, DFS and Halfords at its sites throughout the UK.
At opening it was envisaged the Ballymena site would create up to 40 local jobs in the town, however this evening the company said "potentially eight roles could be affected". The announcement and uncertainty over the future of the site makes for a worrying time for staff, just weeks before Christmas.
Steve Anderson, Operations Director at John Pye & Sons Limited told Love Ballymena:
“We are considering relocating our Ballymena site in the new year and are reviewing options.
"Our Ballymena hub opened in 2021 and due to the soft border approach that has been in place since Brexit and no new trade legislation being implemented, we are seeing clients reserving stock consignments to avoid potential back taxes on trade, making operations challenging.
“Potentially eight roles could be affected and we are currently in a period of consultation.
“More information will follow in the coming weeks.”
Commenting on the impending closure, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said:
"This evening I spoke with the management and director team of John Pye Auctions and they confirmed that they will be making 12 people redundant at the Ballymena site at end of December. This will close the Northern Ireland (NI) footprint.
"The company came to NI and was persuaded to set up shop here in the midst of the pandemic. They invested and made a real go of it.
"It his unfortunate that they have not been able to sustain the business with supply of goods from NI and ROI. NI was its HQ for business on the entire island and it wasn’t able to sustain the business targets set for it. It is incredibly unfortunate.
"I know the company are very disappointed that they can’t sustain the NI business, and management who came here set up home and had children here face a really difficult decision about their future too.
"I know everything will be done to get jobs for the 12 people made redundant I have already reached out to another employer about making offers to them."