A MAJOR new office hub at BAE in Samlesbury is expected to bring between 450 and 500 posts to East Lancashire.

Part of a £175million masterplan for the sprawling old airfield, the proposals for the four-storey offices will transform the north-west quarter of the site.

Samlesbury is already home to an enterprise zone which will become a hothouse for the next generation of students and apprentices.

And over the next couple of years the north west's stellar advanced manufacturing centre - a joint collaboration between Sheffield University and the University of Central Lancashire - will find a home within the Ribble Valley complex.

The Lancashire Telegraph understand that the overall capacity for the new hub is 750 people.

This is expected to be mostly filled with up to 500 staff from other BAE sites, alongside workers transferring from other Samlesbury accommodation.

Cllr Stephen Atkinson, leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: "We have been trying to encourage economic development in the Ribble Valley and have worked to bring business into the borough. It all helps to provide employment and generate business rates, that helps to fund our services.

"We welcome the investment that this will bring, subject to it going through the planning process."

Outline planning permission was first granted for a wider redevelopment programme in 2007, with elements of the masterplan introduced piecemeal since then.

A BAE Systems spokesman said: "This new building will provide a modern working environment for our people employed on a wide range of new and existing products and in teams which support our customers every day.

"We already have a sizeable workforce in Lancashire and, with our plans to recruit new graduates and apprentices for many years to come, we are committed to giving our people the best facilities we can.

"This investment is the latest stage of our masterplan for our Samlesbury site which has already seen us spend more than £175m in creating world-leading capabilities over the past 12 years."

Planning agent Anne Hargreaves added: "There are a number of historic sheds across the whole site which have been redeveloped and updated as manufacturing has changed.These form the backbone of the current modern facility. The proposed building is the third phase of a four-phase cluster of linked office buildings each providing grade A office floorspace."