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Cosmetics firm Barry M threatens to abandon borough if Barnet Council denies expansion
Managing director Dean Mero, right, looks at the land next to his Mill Hill East factory with Hendon MP Matthew Offord
A leading cosmetics firm employing 80 people is threatening to leave the borough if Barnet Council refuses to sell a piece of land next to its Mill Hill East factory.
Barry M Cosmetics, based in Bittacy Hill, says it desperately needs to expand and is looking to buy part of the adjacent Mill Hill depot to create another 100 jobs.
Owners say they have been asking the council for five years about purchasing the land, which will become available in 2015, but claim they have got nowhere in discussions.
The stalemate has left managing director Dean Mero threatening to move to a Hatfield site in Hertfordshire but Hendon MP Matthew Offord has stepped in and is urging the council to act.
The Conservative politician hopes the business will look at apprentice schemes and educational involvement if it is able to expand.
He said: “This is a good local employer that produces millions of units right here in Mill Hill every year.
“We want to make sure they continue to manufacture locally. It is important that the area has a range of different economies and it is vital we keep big businesses in the borough.”
The family-owned cosmetics firm has been at its current premises for more than 20 years of its 30-year existence.
It is currently the fifth biggest cosmetics company across the UK behind Rimmel, Maybelline, L’Oreal and Max Factor but Dean, son of the founder Barry Mero, hopes the planned expansion will enable them to take on foreign markets.
He said: “I want to stay in Mill Hill but if we can’t expand we will have to go elsewhere and that could mean losing some of our staff who have worked here for 25 years.
“I have always lived in the area – Mill Hill is home for us. I remember make up being boxed up in my living room as a kid and it is a real privilege to be running this company now.
“We have spoken to the council several times but with staff changes and departments being shrunk we’ve struggled to keep up any talks. Hopefully that can change.”
Barnet Council says the land will not be available for sale until 2015 but that interested parties will be kept informed of the situation.
A representative said in a statement: “The site currently forms part of the Mill Hill depot and is being leased to the council’s recycling contractors. This lease expires in 2015.
“In the longer term the future of the site is governed by a legal agreement with The Inglis Consortium, the council’s development partners which will see it form part of the wider regeneration of the area including the former Inglis Barracks.
“Outline planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of this site and the adjoining Inglis Barracks on 22 Sept 2011.
“When it is released for sale by the consortium, all those with an interest in the site will be made aware.”