New broom as Sheffield waste management firm plans £1m investment and 10 jobs

A new broom has taken over at a Sheffield waste management company as it prepares to invest £1m and create 10 jobs.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:20 pm

Gavin Leverett is the new managing director at Fletchers after founder Richard Fletcher stepped back.

The 75-strong Darnall company has just won planning permission for a new building which will increase capacity by 50 per cent. It is part of a £1m planned investment over the next 12 months set to create 10 jobs.

Only this week the company took possession of a £500,000 shredder.

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Founder Richard Fletcher, left, and new MD Gavin Leverett.

Mr Leverett, who has 25 years’ management experience, said: “It’s very exciting and great to come in with business in such a positive state. It’s a really capable business, especially for one dealing in rubbish, it's got a lot of ideas and a lot of people are really committed to it.”

Fletchers was launched in February 1982 dealing mainly in scrap. At that time all other waste went to landfill.

Today the figure is almost reversed. The business says it recycles 98 per cent of material after significant investment over the last five years.

The total - some 9,000 tonnes-a-month - includes material sent for burning at ‘energy from waste’ incinerators around the country, although not in Sheffield. Wood is sent to the Stobart power station at Templeborough in Rotherham and plastics are sent to another firm for sorting and processing.

Fletchers £500,000 new shredder.

Despite it’s green credentials, Mr Fletcher thinks the sector still has an image problem.

“The perception is it all goes to landfill. Far from it, we recycle as much as we can.”

Fletchers handles waste scooped up by Amey in Sheffield, including street sweepings, city centre bins and fly tipping.

It is perhaps best known for its skip business, which includes Mr Rubble, handling construction, demolition and domestic waste. And it is setting up The Soil Lab as soil analysis grows in importance, especially in Sheffield where so much land was used for industry and is potentially contaminated.

Mr Fletcher, aged 62, is staying on two days a week until he is 65 to ensure a smooth transition.

“We did have offers from two very large companies which we turned down. They would have ripped the heart out and centralised a lot of things. We wanted to look after staff.”

As a result of the management buy-out, Fraser Lythgoe becomes operations director and Fredric Ward, Mr Fletcher’s step-son, becomes commercial director.

After six years as co-owner, Steve Lythgoe retired as director at the end of January.

Fletchers is based at Clement Works, Clement Street, Darnall.

In a letter to staff, Mr Fletcher wrote: ‘After careful consideration, a decision was made by myself and Steve Lythgoe to sell the business, resulting in a management buy-out on the 3rd February 2020.

‘Gavin Leverett brings 25 years of senior management experience, with much of this time being spent in CFO roles within the construction sector, most recently as the CFO of the Horbury Group, where he played an instrumental part in doubling the size of the business to £100m over a five-year period’.