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The Fine Art Auction Group, parent company of the Dreweatt Neate and Neales salerooms, are to introduce wide-ranging changes to their calendar in 2007. Sales will end in both Godalming and Marlborough and all major auctions will be held in Nottingham and Donnington Priory. The move follows Bonhams’ decision, announced last week, to revamp their provincial network through a series of amalgamations, closures and moves to new premises.

Dreweatt Neate staff were told of the new plans in a series of meetings across the group last Wednesday. The company told ATG that they would not be closing any offices, but there will be no more sales at either of the former Hamptons salerooms acquired by The Fine Art Auction Group in January 2005.

General sale merchandise formerly sold in Marlborough will now be moved to Bristol, while better quality material previously sold in Godalming will go to either Neales of Nottingham or the Grade II listed building at Donnington Priory.

The company’s new vision is to make the best use of these two flagship salerooms for large “London quality” sales while freeing up staff in other regions to focus upon sourcing goods.

This time last year the company announced plans for an out-of-town selling centre close to the A3 in Surrey that would handle all of Dreweatt Neate’s general and specialist sales in the south east of England. However, marketing director Bruce Cairnduff said that, following problems with the lease, they had abandoned the scheme.

Mr Cairnduff added that the changes would help make the company more profitable in a tough market. He cited the experience of the Dreweatt Neate salerooms in Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne that have successfully made the transition from saleroom to consignment offices with little discernable drop-off in business.

This year the company expect to report record total sales figures in the region of £20m.

By Roland Arkell