Councillor says he is doing what he can for jobs

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A COUNCILLOR has said he is his best to save hundreds of jobs.

Sean Woodward, executive member for economy at Hampshire County Council, says he is discussing options for people working on an industrial estate, on Botley Road, in Curdridge.

The Bury Farm site could be turned into part of a 3,500-home estate after a proposal was put in by the North Whiteley Consortium. This would mean all 300 workers could lose their jobs.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘I am very concerned about the situation.

‘The local authorities have a duty to relocate the businesses which should have been engaged years ago.

‘It’s very unfortunate and I’m doing what I can. I feel for the workers who could potentially lose out.

‘I’m working with Eloise Appleby and Winchester City Council to discuss ways forward.’

Business owners at the site say they have been left hanging because no decision has been made yet.

Richard Grant, managing director of Wessex Demolition Salvage, said: ‘We are all sat here in limbo.

‘We still don’t have a clue what the council is up to.

‘There’s 50 businesses here employing 300 people, which are under threat from the council because of this proposal.’

The North Whiteley Consortium, which includes Crest Nicholson, intends to build two primary schools, a secondary school, two community centres and sports pitches.

There will also be roads between Whiteley and Botley Road.

Cllr Sam Newman-McKie, who represents neighbouring ward Whiteley at Winchester City Council and sits on the North Whiteley Forum, said they will be offering assistance to the employees.

‘We have made contact with representatives from Bury Farm,’ she said.

‘Together with Winchester’s economy and communities department we will be offering assistance and support in whatever way is possible to protect enterprises and jobs.’

No date has been set as to when Winchester City Council will make its decision.