ONE of Swindon’s longest established estate agents has ceased trading – and liquidation is looming.

Peter Long and Partners (PLP), which opened almost 60 years ago, has shut its doors, cleared its High Street offices and booked a meeting with the liquidators for next Thursday.

The company’s liquidators – PFK – said that PLP’s directors decided that the firm could not be sold on and it, along with numerous satellite offices in Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester, would go into liquidation after the next meeting.

The independent company, was established in 1950 and, from its head office in Old Town, offered a range of services.

But it mainly focused on the lettings and survey market.

Keith Morgan, of PKF, said it is the latest company to be hit by the slump in the housing market.

He said: “I think estate agents are doing hardly any business – there are simply too many of them around the country.

“Construction and development industries have come to a grinding halt, we are expecting 2009 to be a fairly bleak one for construction and all related industries.”

Robert Skerton, the managing director of Swindon estate agent Henry George, agreed.

He said: “In times like this there are always going to be firms which will disappear.

“It’s a shame. But at the end of the day it’s always going to be the survival of the fittest.

“It’s never pleasant when a company goes to the wall.”

Peter Long and Partners was a firm of chartered surveyors, members of the Institute of Revenue and Rating, the Association of Building Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Building. The company was also a member of the National Homes Network along with the Association of Residential Letting Agents.