AROUND 140 new jobs are to be created at bed manufacturers Silentnight after Lancashire County Council agreed a £1million investment package.

A further 500 jobs have been safeguarded as a result of the deal, which secures the firms long-term future in Lancashire.

The investment ties Silentnight down to Barnoldswick for a number of years and means the company will now be relocating their head office to Pendle.

The leader of Lancashire County Council hailed the deal as “hugely important” and the chairman of Silentnight said it was “fantastic news”.

Silentnight’s commitment to Pendle comes after it decided to close down its Batley plant in Yorkshire earlier this year as part of cost-cutting measures. The investment from the county council, which will be used to expand its manufacturing facilities, played a big part in the decision to remain in Lancashire.

Adrian Fawcett, chairman of Silentnight, said: “I am extremely grateful for the support offered to Silentnight by Lancashire County Council. It is fantastic news that we have secured our future here in Barnoldswick.

“As a result of the investment it will generate around 140 new roles in the organisation in manufacturing, which will mean over 500 people will be working in manufacturing alone at this site.

“All the people we are looking to employ are local and are through all ages, and we will be particularly focusing on apprentices.”

The expansion is part of Silentnight's plans to produce a wider product range at the site including Silentnight, Layezee and Rest Assured branded products, together with mattresses and divans.

County Coun Geoff Driver, leader of the county council, said: “One of our priorities as a council is to maintain and create jobs. It's hugely important to me that the council does everything it can to create and secure jobs in the county.

“We are delighted to be able to help to keep jobs in Barnoldswick and create new ones.

“This is excellent news for everyone associated with the factory including the workers, their families and the small businesses that benefit from the factory's presence in the town.

“The manufacturing industry remains vital to the Lancashire economy and will continue to for a long time with big name ! brands like Silentnight expanding here, even when the economic climate is tough.”

A number of apprentices have already been recruited to Barnoldswick.

Twenty-year-old Fiona Taylor, from Colne, has been working at the plant since December.

She said: “I really enjoy it, I’m loving working here. I have been working in sewing and it is great to be learning a new skill as well as working within the company.”

County Coun Keith Bailey, who represents the West Craven area, said: “This announcement means Silentnight will continue to be one of Barnoldswick's major employers for the foreseeable future and provides another reason for people to want to live and work in the area.

“I'm delighted for the thousands of people who will benefit from the company's commitment to the town and grateful for the tremendous role of the county council in making it happen.”

Coun Mike Blomeley, leader of Pendle Council, said: “It is fantastic to see Silentnight securing and creating new jobs in Barnoldswick.

“Pendle Council has been working closely with Lancashire County Council, who I want to thank for their vital role in encouraging the company to invest here.

“It's a big vote of confidence in the workforce and the area as a whole that the company is increasing its production in Barnoldswick and long may it continue to be an important part of our local economy.”