ONE of the district's longest established businesses has closed with the loss of 71 jobs – prompting community leaders to raise fears over the local economy.
It has been announced that Froghall firm Thomas Bolton, which makes copper products for the power industry, has shut.
It comes just over a month after the Post & Times reported that the company, which is 150 years old and once employed more than 2,000, had been placed into administration.
Manchester-based specialist Zolfo Cooper LLP was appointed administrator on March 24.
Last Wednesday the firm informed 85 remaining workers that despite trading the company while exploring all options, including a sale as a going concern, no suitable offers had been received.
Seventy-one members of staff were made redundant with immediate effect, while 14 have been retained to assist with the wind-down of the business.
Nineteen had already been made redundant when the company first went into administration.
Graham Wild, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: "It was with great regret that we have had to take this extremely difficult decision to make the majority of employees redundant.
"A small number have been retained to assist with the closure.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all employees for their professionalism and dedication during this unsettling period and wish them well for the future."
One worker told the Post & Times: "Many employees feel gutted. There is a lot of experience in the workforce and several have served the company for many years. There are also a lot of younger workers who have families. The administrators told us they had received no offers and they had to wind up the business."
The closure of the factory was raised at a meeting of Ipstones Parish Council.
District and parish councillor Linda Malyon said: "These were real jobs which have been lost. It is a disgraceful and serious situation as there are not many jobs available in the Moorlands. We should write to the administrators expressing our concern as this will have a great impact on the people and also the economy."
Councillor John Barks said: "Jobs are getting less all around the Staffordshire Moorlands."
Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Sybil Ralphs, who also has the responsibility for regeneration, said this week: "I would urge anyone affected who wants advice and support at this time to contact us at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, and also the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
"We are working hard to create the right environment for companies to grow and flourish and to attract new businesses. In the past four years alone £120 million has been invested in a range of projects including Adams Foods, Sainsbury's, Premier Inn and Rapiscan – investments which have brought over 600 jobs.
"We're preparing the ground for further growth through the Masterplans for Cheadle, Leek and the Churnet Valley."