NEWTON Abbot has suffered an economic blow with the loss of almost 50 jobs at conservatory roof firm Quantal.
Political and business leaders say the announcement that parent company Ultraframe will close its factory on the Heathfield Industrial Estate comes as a shock amid positive economic signs for the town.
Ultraframe says it will close its factory in Battle Road at the end of this year with 47 full and part-time jobs going.
The company says Quantal is 'best served' by moving to its base in Lancashire.
Steve Henson, chairman of Newton Abbot Chamber of Commerce, said it shows the economic recovery is not straightforward.
"Newton Abbot has improved significantly as a town centre and we are graced with two good industrial estates, which makes it even more of a shame to see businesses going out of the area," he said.
Although 47 jobs in the grand scheme of things is not huge, 47 job losses in Newton Abbot is significant."
Cllr Jeremy Christophers, leader of Teignbridge Council, said it was a chance to push ahead with the Local Plan.
He said: "I guess, coupled with Launa Windows' move a few years ago, this shows a change in customer demand and really it's difficult on a local perspective to legislate for this kind of demand shift.
"What we really need for Newton Abbot is for the Local Plan to be approved. If we can really get to grips with that there will be long term job creation.
"A lot of companies here are weathering the economic storm quite well.
"I am not suggesting everything is okay and people are having to work harder, but if we can deliver Plan Teignbridge and help businesses to move to more appropriate sites so they can cut overheads by bringing in better accommodation, I think generally things will start looking very positive"
Ultraframe acquired Quantal in May, 2012, to complement its other roof systems, which are all manufactured in Lancashire.
Ultraframe said: "The entire production of the company's Quantal aluminium roof system will be relocated to Ultraframe's main production facility in Clitheroe, Lancashire."
Andy Crowe, Ultraframe operations director, said: "The Quantal roof system has a very unique position in the UK glazed roof market by virtue of its technically-excellent aluminium construction.
"However, the future success of the brand is best served by utilising the greater resources, services and complementary products available from our Clitheroe factory.
"We have not taken this decision lightly and we are now entering into a consultation period with the team at Newton Abbot."