THE approval of a £1.14 million paint plant expansion will help safeguard 16 jobs.

And plans could be afoot to recruit new staff if business continues to boom at the Crown Paints Polymer Plant in Lower Eccleshill Road, Darwen.

The proposed expansion, lodged earlier this month, has now been approved by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Having been given the green light, six new tanks will be installed on the site along with the creation of a hardstanding yard area between two storage bunds to enable tanker loading/unloading and to turn on site.

And a second site entrance with fencing and gates onto Eccleshill Road will be opened.

The Hempel group which owns Crown Paints is looking at utilising the polymers made at Darwen in Spain and Portugal.

Crown Paints has also sold polymers as far as Sri Lanka.

The plant manufactures 12,000 tonnes of polymer per year and will add another 1,000 with the investment.

The maximum capacity of the plant without overtime is 15,000 tonnes.

The long term strategy of Hempel and Crown Paints is to grow sales well above 15,000 tonnes at which point the business would require recruitment and a different shift pattern.