FORMER employees of the Cazoo vehicle preparation centre in Wiltshire plan to say ‘goodbye’ at a farewell party on Friday (March 17) on the day their site is to close.

Up to 50 employees at the Cazoo centre in Stephenson Road on the Northacre Industrial Estate, Westbury, are expected to attend the party at The Players Club.

One employee, who has declined to be named, says there is a “surreal” atmosphere as the clock counts down to the centre’s closure at 4pm.

He said many of the 150 people being made redundant by the online used car seller have already found other jobs and some of those left are still looking.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Cazoo vehicle preparation centre in Westbury. Photo: Trevor Porter 69574-1The Cazoo vehicle preparation centre in Westbury. Photo: Trevor Porter 69574-1 (Image: Trevor Porter)

The employee accused Cazoo senior management of “ruining” what was once a successful and profitable operation in Westbury.

Many of the employees transferred to Cazoo when it acquired Smart Fleet Solutions in February 2021 and within two years have lost their jobs.

He said: “The atmosphere is just very sombre. It reminds me of one of those old Westerns with tumbleweed rolling through.

“People are going round taking pictures of the empty buildings. It is almost surreal and a real shame.”

Smart Fleet Solutions focused on reconditioning and storage of learner cars and mobility vehicles for re-sale.

But Cazoo changed the way the centre operated and brought in used vehicles to be repaired and prepared for re-sale.

The employee said: “The area itself is just destitute. All the learner vehicles are being shipped out on transporters.

“I would just like to say a massive thank you to what was Smart Fleet who obviously gave a lot of people the opportunity. It was an amazing place."

Car Dealer magazine recently reported that independent car dealers had criticised the ‘arrogance and naivety’ of Cazoo’s founder and former CEO, Alex Chesterman, for the way in which the company has been operated.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Cazoo's founder and former CEO Alex ChestermanCazoo's founder and former CEO Alex Chesterman (Image: Freelancer)

Cazoo has been forced to downgrade sales forecasts for this year and has consulted more than 3,000 employees across the UK about redundancies.

In January, the company announced plans to close 15 of its 22 vehicle handover centres and four of its seven vehicle preparation centres, including the one in Westbury.

Cazoo has been approached for comment.