One of Leyland’s biggest employers has announced it will be leaving the town.
Plans for services firm Amey to close its base in Farington early next year have been met with grave disappointment this week.
It means that 500 jobs will be relocated from Leyland to a site in Liverpool.
Staff at the Centurion Way offices, the former headquarters of Enterprise, which Amey bought in April this year, were told the news late last week.
Today, a spokesman said there would be no job losses, insisting the firm wanted to keep all of its Leyland staff throughout the changes, and even hoped to expand the workforce by a third once it moved to Liverpool.
But Farington councillor Mike Otter says it is a shame to lose such a big employer from the town.
He said: “I was aware of the takeover but I didn’t know the firm planned to leave.
“It’s taking money out of our local economy, but if the jobs are saved, that’s something for the staff.
“Many may not wish to commute to Liverpool though, and I feel for them.
“It’s a shame, and it will be sad to see such a large employer leave Farington.”
The Guardian previously reported the firm indicated it would move out of the site once its lease was up in 2014.
A spokesman for Amey said staff already knew a move was on the cards, and that activity was likely to start in October this year.
She added: “Back in April we announced that we would not be extending the lease on our Lancaster House building in Leyland when it is up for renewal at the end of 2014, and that it would close.
“The building is no longer fit for purpose so it makes sense to move to our Liverpool site.
“We made a promise at the start that we would keep staff informed and the meeting last week was part of that process.”
Amey provides services such as consulting expertise, highways projects, utilities, property and facilities management, aviation services, asset management, contact centres and waste management.
Coun Graham Walton, who also represents Farington, said: “I am very disappointed to hear about this, for the area and for the people who work there.
“I don’t know how many people from Farington and Leyland actually work there, but I think people travel here from other places to work, which is a good thing for the area too.
“To have this firm leave is something to be looked at, especially when the Lancashire Business Park in Farington is being rebuilt following the fire in 2011.
“There is scope for more employment there, and naturally the Amey building will make perfect offices for other companies, so hopefully that will attract more employment to Farington in the future.”