ROLLS-Royce has applied for planning permission to relocate machinery at its Barnoldswick plant.

The proposal follows the aero-engine manufacturing company confirming the future of its presence in the town.

In January Rolls-Royce lifted the threat to the Bankfield and Ghyll Brow factories after settling a dispute with the Unite union following restructuring proposals in August.

This led to fears that more than 350 jobs could be lost with the plant’s manufacture of wide chord fan blades for new jet engines moved to Singapore by 2023.

The planning application to Pendle Council proposes ‘the relocation of external plant and equipment together with the excavation of an internal 2.3 metre pit at the Wide Chord Fan Blade building at the Rolls-Royce Bankfield site in Barnoldswick’.

A Design and Access statement submitted with the application says: “The equipment is being moved from a series of outlying buildings in the southern end of the Bankfield site into the main fan blade manufacturing facility in the northern end.

“This will integrate the crucial finishing operations and the despatch activities for all fan blades that will continue to be manufactured at the site to sit alongside the related operations in the main manufacturing building.

“It will also involve the relocation of the manufacture of key sub-assemblies used for fan blades that will also continue to be supplied from Barnoldswick.

“The third element is the integration of the equipment used in the development and manufacture of components for the next-generation of fan blades into the main manufacturing building.

“This is being done in order to retain the capability at the site and support the ongoing future process development undertaken there. The proposed external plant items will be viewed within the context of an existing large-scale industrial area and surrounding industrial site, and, as such, is appropriate to the surroundings.”

“The proposed relocation of plant is necessary to support rationalisation of the site and has been designed to meet operational requirements.”

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, lead of the Labour opposition on Pendle Council, said: “It is good to see firm evidence of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to the future of its operations at Barnoldswick.

“I wish the company all the best with their planning application.

“The workforce fought a campaign to protect jobs at the Barnoldswick plant and I look forward to further investment by Rolls-Royce there.”