2nd December 2020

The Seasons Greetings!

The constantly changing Tier system, and the variations between England and Wales (which is particularly important because we as we are only ½ mile from the border), is making the situation somewhat confusing for us all, but I have tried to simplify our position for the run up to Christmas, and give some insight into the actions that we are taking at Westminster Stone.

We will be closed other than monitoring of contact forms and emails from 18th December 2020, until 4thJanuary 2021. Orders can be placed online over Christmas, but they will not be actioned until our return in the New Year.

With the ‘second wave’ of Covid 19 affecting much of the UK and Europe, and the latest 4 week Lockdown in England that ends on 2nd December, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you of the ongoing precautions that we have in place at Westminster Stone to protect staff, visitors and customers alike, and to ensure that we can continue to trade in the knowledge that we are doing as much as we can to continue to protect ourselves and each other against the Corona Virus.

Below, I have detailed the key areas that we have addressed, and like you, hope that a return to normality may be in the not too far into 2021.

Stay safe, and look after yourselves and loved ones.

With warm wishes

 

John Clifford
Managing Director

 

  • From 3rd December, Westminster Stone & Gardenstone Head Office Display Centre is open to the trade and general public, but still BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
  • Customers can also visit our garden centre display sites without appointments, and customers can order online 24/7 or over the phone for home delivery during office hours. Call 01978 710685.
  • We offer collections from our Shropshire  Distribution Centre (SY12 9EL) to trade and retail customers. (You need to book a collection time by phone).
  • Paperwork for deliveries are contactless.
  • Payments are also contactless. We cannot accept cash payment without prior arrangement.

 

Westminster Stone: Operating Safely & Effectively

Westminster Stone is open for business:

  • Order online www.westminsterstone.com or www.gardenstone.co.uk 
    • Order any time of the day or night, 7 days per week .
  • Phone lines remain open seven days per week
    • From 08.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday 11.00am – 5.00pm weekends.
  • Samples service available.
    • Order online, or over the phone.
  • Excellent stock levels 
    • Most of the products at our Shropshire Distribution Centre are available from stock, or on short lead limes, meaning that we should be able to continue to offer good delivery turnaround times.
  • Our Suppliers are open
    • All of our UK suppliers remain open at this time, so continuity of supply should be largely unaffected. 

 

Protecting Customers & Visitors

Westminster Stone have taken the following added measures to offer continued safe and efficient service to customers:

  • The Head Office Showroom is open for retail, trade and B2B sales.
  • Visits by appointment only.
    • Please phone or email for a link to our online booking service.
  • We are offering collections only from our Distribution Centre, (SY12 9EL), near Ellesmere, Shropshire, for trade and retail customers.
    • Vehicles must be appropriate for forklift loading.
  • Online ordering for Trade & Retail customers
    • You can order online or over the phone for home delivery, or delivery direct to your site.
  • Pre-payment over the phone only.
    • By using our Paycove quoting system or paying by card over the phone – No payment on site, and no cash payments received.
  • No visitors are permitted into the offices. We are greeting customers outdoors only.
  • PPE
    • Customers and visitors must wear face coverings / masks once they have left their vehicle.
    • Hand sanitizer is available on site appropriately positioned.
    • Any customer displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be refused entry into any Westminster Stone sites:
      • A high temperature
      • A new, continuous cough.
      • A loss (or change) of smell and/ or taste.
  • Social Distancing
    • All of our staff will keep a the safe recommended distance of 2 metres from customers at all times.
  • No physical contact such as handshakes permitted.
  • Satellite Paving Centres
    • including Burford, in The Cotswolds are garden centre based, and therefore viewing is mainly outdoors where close contact can be easily avoided.

 

House Keeping Rules Before Visiting Any Of Our Centres:

 

  • Please do not visit us if you, or a member of your party have a temperature or are displaying any Covid 19 symptoms.
  • Please do not visit us if you, or a member of your party are from an area that is in Tier 3, or in a Lock Down area.
    • TRADE CUSTOMERS ARE PERMITTED TO VISIT if the visit is in line with their work, and all other points are addressed.
  • Please do not visit us if you, or a member of your party are self isolating.
  • Please ensure that you  are accompanied by no more than one other person (2 people max). Unfortunately this includes children. 
  • Please ensure that you, and all members of your party are wearing a face covering / mask once you have parked your vehicle on site.  
  • We look forward to seeing you under all other circumstances!

 

 

Westminster Stone: Protecting Staff

Westminster Stone have taken the following steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff during the 2020 COVID 19 outbreak:

  • All Showrooms & Display Centres that are open follow strict the social distancing guidelines outlined by the UK Government. 
  • Staff will maintain the safe distance of 2 metres from colleagues & visitors wherever possible*, and no physical contact is permitted.
    • *Some production processes require closer proximity, but face coverings and visors are used in these instances
  • Staff work from home, where possible.
  • Customer visitors are by appointment only, so that staff can be drafted in from home for meetings.
  • New phone system is being installed to improve accessibility to staff working from home.
  • Cloud based project systems have been introduced that enable staff to work remotely.
  • Cleaning equipment and hand sanitizers has been issued to all staff for their personal work stations and surrounding environments.
  • Increased health and safety awareness measures, including signage have been implemented for rest areas, toilets and other facilities on site.
  • Introduction of ‘teams’ system introduced to minimise potential spreading of the virus. Each team bubble has their own canteen area and toilet and washing facilities.
  • Staff Temperatures are taken and recorded daily on arrival each day.

 

Our apologies for any inconvenience caused by these stipulations. They have been introduced for your safety, and the safety of all staff and visitors, and their families.

Previous Updates

With the ‘second wave’ of Covid 19 affecting much of the UK and Europe, and the latest 4 week Lockdown in England imposed from 5th November 2020, I thought this may be an opportune moment to update you with the precautions that we have put in place to protect our staff, visitors and customers, and to ensure that we can continue to trade with optimism, safe in the knowledge that we are doing as much as we can to continue to protect ourselves and each other, and to offer excellent products, and excellent service levels.

Below, I have detailed the key areas that we have addressed, and like you, hope that a return to normality may be in the not too distant future.

Stay safe, and look after yourselves and loved ones.

With warm wishes

John Clifford
Managing Director

The Westminster Stone & Gardenstone Head Office Display Centre is now open to trade customers only. B2B Only

***
Retail customers can visit our garden centre display sites, or order online or over the phone for home delivery.

***
We offer collections from our Shropshire  Distribution Centre (SY12 9EL) to trade and retail customers.

***
Deliveries are contactless, and you are still able to place orders online or over the phone.

***

Westminster Stone: Operating Safely & Effectively

Westminster Stone is open for business:

  • Order online www.westminsterstone.com or www.gardenstone.co.uk
    • Order any time of the day or night, 7 days per week .
  • Phone lines remain open seven days per week
    • From 08.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday 11.00am – 5.00pm weekends.
  • Samples service available.
    • Order online, or over the phone.
  • Excellent stock levels
    • Most of the products at our Shropshire Distribution Centre are available from stock, or on short lead limes, meaning that we should be able to continue to offer good delivery turnaround times.
  • Our Suppliers are open
    • All of our UK suppliers remain open at this time, so continuity of supply should be largely unaffected. 

Protecting Customers & Visitors

Westminster Stone have taken the following added measures to offer continued safe and efficient service to customers:

  • The Head Office Showroom is open to trade customers and B2B sales only.
  • Visits by appointment only.
    • Please phone or email for a link to our online booking service.
  • We are offering collections only from our Distribution Centre, (SY12 9EL), near Ellesmere, Shropshire, for trade and retail customers.
    • Vehicles must be appropriate for forklift loading.
  • Online ordering for Trade & Retail customers
    • You can order online or over the phone for home delivery, or delivery direct to your site.
  • Pre-payment over the phone only.
    • By using our Paycove quoting system or paying by card over the phone – No payment on site, and no cash payments received.
  • No visitors are permitted into the offices. We are greeting customers outdoors only.
  • PPE
    • Customers and visitors must wear face coverings / masks once they have left their vehicle.
    • Hand sanitizer is available on site appropriately positioned.
    • Any customer displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be refused entry into any Westminster Stone sites:
      • A high temperature
      • A new, continuous cough.
      • A loss (or change) of smell and/ or taste.
  • Social Distancing
    • All of our staff will keep a the safe recommended distance of 2 metres from customers at all times.
  • No physical contact such as handshakes permitted.
  • Satellite Paving Centres
    • including Burford, in The Cotswolds are garden centre based, and therefore viewing is mainly outdoors where close contact can be easily avoided.

Westminster Stone: Protecting Staff

Westminster Stone have taken the following steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff during the 2020 COVID 19 outbreak:

  • All Showrooms & Display Centres that are open follow strict the social distancing guidelines outlined by the UK Government. 
  • Staff will maintain the safe distance of 2 metres from colleagues & visitors wherever possible*, and no physical contact is permitted.
    • *Some production processes require closer proximity, but face coverings and visors are used in these instances
  • Staff work from home, where possible.
  • Customer visitors are by appointment only, so that staff can be drafted in from home for meetings.
  • New phone system is being installed to improve accessibility to staff working from home.
  • Cloud based project systems have been introduced that enable staff to work remotely.
  • Cleaning equipment and hand sanitizers has been issued to all staff for their personal work stations and surrounding environments.
  • Increased health and safety awareness measures, including signage have been implemented for rest areas, toilets and other facilities on site.
  • Introduction of ‘teams’ system introduced to minimise potential spreading of the virus. Each team bubble has their own canteen area and toilet and washing facilities.
  • Staff Temperatures are taken and recorded daily on arrival each day.

CoVid 19 Update – 5th November 2020

OPEN THROUGH LOCKDOWN

As England has been placed into national lockdown from Thursday 5th November, we would like to reassure our customers that we will be remaining open throughout.

As a provider of products and services to the building and gardening Industries, we are classed as an ‘essential service’. This allows us to remain open throughout the current Lockdown period.

We are however operating an appointment only system, (at our Shropshire Head Office*), and you should phone or email us so we can send a link for you to make an appointment online.

*Our Garden centre based paving centres are open as usual, including Burford, in the Cotswolds.

The majority of our suppliers have also confirmed that they will remain open, so we expect that this will cause minimal disruption to our ability to service your requirements.

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

CoVid 19 Update – 23rd October 2020

With the Autumn upon us, and the onset of ‘second wave’ of Covid 19 in the UK, we continue to trade with optimism, yet with caution. 2020 has been presented us with all sorts of challenges which we have embraced with our usual hard work, with commitment to safety, and to quality of products and customer service.

Display Centres: Our garden centre paving displays are now safely open for viewing, albeit observing social distancing etiquette, and at our Head Office Display Centre, From 6.00pm today 23/10/2020, because we are 800 metres from the Welsh border, we can on longer welcome visitors from Wales, or from any Lock Down Tier 3 areas. Unless they are trade customers visiting as part of their work. Visitors from most parts of England are still very welcome to visit by appointment (call us or email us for a link to our website appointments booking system).

Production: Observing social distancing has also been a challenge on our production lines, but with the full cooperation of our excellent production teams, we are now operating safely, yet almost to capacity.

Lead times: on most of the products that we manufacture, including the National Trust range are currently running at much less than three weeks on patio packs, with some single sizes, and accessories just a little over.

Stock availability: One significant ongoing impact of Covid 19. All countries that we import from have been in and out of lock-down during the past few months, and supplies are strained. We have done an excellent job of forward ordering, and procuring our materials from 6 or 7 of the best importers has meant that we have fared better than many of our competitors.

Forward Ordering: To ensure the very best chance of your material being available to you for your project, we are operating a forward ordering service. You can secure your order as materials arrive with us in to stock. You simply pay a 25% deposit (which is fully refundable in the event that the material doesn’t come in to stock for you in time), and we will advise you when your material arrives in to stock. If you’re not ready to take delivery, we’ll hold it for you until you are, though you will need to settle the balance of the invoice within a week of stock for your order arriving.

Stock aplenty: We still have 40 more containers due to arrive between November and February 2020, so we continue to feel confident that we should be best placed to offer good service.

Gardenstone website deliveries have improved substantially, and we are now supplying within 3 – 6 working days. That’s not to say that a few products have been more difficult to obtain, but if they’re out of stock, the website will advise.

Ongoing: We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping the country to fully overcome the crisis, and we certainly will not become complacent. I will keep you updated with any changes.

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

CoVid 19 Update – 21st July 2020

As we head towards our 35th anniversary on 5th August 2020, I’m sure we can all agree that the year has been like no other year we have experienced! After the initial fear of the unknown, and experiencing a shift in customer’s buying pattern like no other that we have ever witnessed, the year has settled down, everything is under control, and we have at last achieved some degree of normality!

Display Centres: Our garden centre paving displays are now safely open for viewing, albeit observing social distancing etiquette, and at our Head Office display centre in Shropshire, we are operating an appointments system very successfully.

Production: Observing social distancing has also been a challenge on our production lines, but with the full cooperation of our excellent production teams, we are now operating almost to capacity.

Lead times: on most of the products that we manufacture, including the National Trust range are currently running at much less than three weeks on patio packs, with some single sizes, and accessories just a little over.

Stock availability: One significant ongoing impact of Covid 19. All countries that we import from have been in lock-down at some point during the past 4 months, and supplies are strained. We at Westminster Stone have done an excellent job of forward ordering, and procuring our materials from 6 or 7 of the best importers has meant that we have fared better than many of our competitors.

Forward Ordering: To ensure the very best chance of your material being available to you for your project, we are operating a  forward ordering service. You can secure your order as materials arrive with us in to stock. You simply pay a 25% deposit (which is fully refundable in the event that the material doesn’t come in to stock for you in time), and we will advise you when your material arrives in to stock. If you’re not ready to take delivery, we’ll hold it for you until you are, though you will need to settle the balance of the invoice within a week of stock for your order arriving.

Stock aplenty: We have 40 more containers due to arrive between August and October, so we’re feeling confident that we should be best placed to offer good service.

Gardenstone website deliveries have improved substantially, and we are now supplying within 3 – 6 working days. That’s not to say that a few products have been more difficult to obtain, but if they’re out of stock, the website will advise.

Ongoing: We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping the country to fully overcome the crisis, and we certainly will not become complacent, and I will keep you updated with any changes.

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

25th May 2020 Update

This brief update is to let our customers in the south know that normal service has now resumed at our Cotswolds Display Centre near Burford.

Closely following Government guidelines, we have social distancing measures in place and we ask all customers to abide by the 2m rule. Please also note although Burford Garden Centre is now open, the restaurant and coffee shop currently remain closed. Our key measures are:

  • only 2 people on the displays at any one time
  • no entry to the office for the public
  • interior flooring showroom by appointment only

 

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

I wanted to bring you up to date with how we have adapted to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times, and how we continue to adapt, whilst also supplying both the trade and public with the products that they need.

The crisis has put Westminster Stone under more pressure huge pressure, and I have to admit that we have made a few more mistakes than usual! But I am proud of the way the team has responded to the challenge. Two thirds of our workforce is now back to work, with a strict social distancing policy in place: Extra staff facilities have been brought in. We have extended the working day (and week) slightly to spread staff more thinly; and the majority of the sales and accounts team are still working from home.

Our paving display centres are all still closed, so the only way we can take orders is over the phone, online (through www.westminsterstone.com for paving and flooring, and www.gardenstone.co.uk for edgings, gravels, and garden centre ‘pick up lines.)’ You can order samples on line too.

Deliveries have generally been made within 3 – 7 working day, and other than one or two products, that is still the case. I would thank you for bearing with us on the odd occasion that there is a delay. We will always try to keep you informed and updated.

I would suggest that you get your orders in early, even if you don’t want them for a month or two. Or if you don’t know when you need them! There are likely to be shortages during the coming weeks, from all brands and importers. India for instance hasn’t made or dispatched a paving slab for almost 2 months. And the shipping time from when they re-start is 4 – 5 weeks. And manufacturers in the UK have almost without exception have ceased production, or been working with a skeleton staff. For the past 6 weeks, Westminster Stone has manufactured just 20% of what had been planned pre Lockdown.

During the last week, just one of our vehicles from the fleet has turned a wheel for the first time in 6 weeks. During the peak of the crisis, we made the decision to use outside hauliers only, as we considered that they were the specialists, and that they would be able to adapt their operations to the Covid Challenge better than we could, thus keeping people safe.

I understand there that there may be a relaxing of the Lock-down from next week (11th May). Be assured, there will be no relaxing of our strict rules here. We won’t be letting down our guard. We have brought staff back very slowly during the past 2 or 3 weeks. Waiting until we have been able to provide a safe environment. The last of our production operatives are due back over the coming fortnight, with the exception of those that have fears or unique circumstances.

Our gates have been locked (and continue to be so) since Lockdown, and access is by appointment only. Deliveries and collections are also be appointment only, with strict social distancing policy for drivers. There are no ‘loose’ collections, or handballing of product in to delivery vehicles. If it can’t be loaded by forklift, it can’t leave!

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping this country overcome this crisis. And will keep you updated with any changes.

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

I wanted to update you on how we’re adapting to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times.

Following clarification from the Government, on 24th March, our type of business is able to continue to operate within health & safety guidelines, we will therefore continue to keep our retail outlets closed to customers but we will be running an online & phone order, and delivery only service to from the 26th March.

We continue to take steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. This includes no longer asking customers to physically sign for deliveries, instead courier drivers will take a photo (unless advised not to) of the delivered items and sign on the customer’s behalf. Our couriers continue to run ensuring food and medical goods are delivered, by keeping their wagons topped up with other goods, this allows the courier services to run efficiently & cost effectively and they are prioritising deliveries of essential supplies over other goods at this time.

Enquiries, Orders & dispatch will be undertaken by family members who both live on site at Westminster Stone.

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping this country overcome this crisis. And will keep you updated with any changes.

John Clifford
Managing Director

We currently are not experiencing any problems with either getting goods in from suppliers or sending orders out. TPN is continuing to operate and collect and deliver orders from us, and our drivers are currently still working. DPD and various pallet couriers are continuing to deliver in supplies from all of our UK suppliers. Our catalogue of products remain in good supply and we are in constant daily contact with all suppliers monitoring the situation across the UK and the world. We have a vast amount of stock on the yard to fulfil orders. If stock starts to become an issue and this situation changes we will provide a further update.

Dispatch times across the Westminster Stone & Gardenstone product range remain unchanged. We still have all machinery and staff operating as normal and we are monitoring this on a daily basis and will provide updates if we expect delays to order dispatch.

All our retail outlets are closed to the public, but we continue to operate taking online and phone orders & fulfilling orders and deliveries as normal.

In regards to receiving your delivery, please keep a safe distance from the drivers. Orders that would normally be signed will not be signed for but instead will be marked as delivered by the delivery driver.

John Clifford
Managing Director

Dear Customer

I want to update you on the steps that Westminster Stone is taking to minimise any potential effect the Coronavirus may have on our service to you.

The health and safety of our staff and clients are of the utmost importance. We are following government best guidelines to inform our actions and have educated our teams accordingly.

What business issues could affect our levels of service?

Through careful planning we are fully confident we can continue to deliver product for our clients and have contingency plans in place, which mean we can continue to operate at a level that has minimum impact.  However, if we expect any delay in our high service levels or any temporary extension to deadlines outside of our control, we will ensure that we communicate this to you promptly to minimise any potential impact.

Delivery drivers are briefed not to shake hands, to respect  customer’s wishes and maintain a safe physical distance

What happens if our offices close?

We have reduced the number of staff working in our Head Office and all remaining members of staff are working in isolation.  In the unlikely event that we need to close the office completely, staff will continue to work full-time from home, and our website will remain open 24/7 to accept your orders and enquiries

Visiting our Display Centres

Our Head Office is in a rural location and customers will be greeted outside and given time to browse our displays on their own.  We will not be shaking hands as a matter of policy, and with less staff on site it is easy to retain safe personal space.

Our Burford Display Centre has only one person based on site at a time, with others working from home.  Again, customers will be greeted outside and given time to browse the displays on their own.

Our remaining Display Centres are unmanned, so please continue to visit at your leisure and enquire or order online through our website.

Thank you for your continued custom and support.

Kind regards

John Clifford
Managing Director