BUSINESSES, councillors, workers and residents have welcomed Rolls-Royce's announcement of plans to open a new manufacturing site in Barnoldswick as part of a £300million investment across the country.

The firm said it was planning to invest in four new production plants across the country, including Barnoldswick, in a move which will create 800 jobs.

It is unclear what proportion of the jobs will be located in Barnoldswick but local business leaders were optimistic that it would mean a ‘fantastic’ boost for the area.

Under the scheme the additional facility at Barnoldswick will produce wide-chord fan blades for the Joint Strike Aircraft.

The site is already involved in the production of fan blades for commercial aircraft.

Coun Allan Buck, who lives in Barnoldswick and is the authority’s executive member with responsibility for economic development and tourism, said the expansion would have a “knock-on” effect, helping boost the local economy.

He said: “It’s good news for Barnoldswick and Pendle, particularly at a time when the manufacturing industry is struggling a bit.

“It should mean more local jobs and the development of the existing site will presumably mean more jobs for builders.

“The whole economy benefits when Rolls-Royce expands because people have money in their pockets and spend it in the pubs and shops.”

Craven councillor Glenn Whittaker also welcomed the plans.

He said: “If the site is going to diversify into military aircraft, then it’s another string to its bow and will encourage future investment.

“It’s an extra bonus.”

Rowena Pratt, who has run Shambles Personal Care, Cosmetics and Toiletries, in Albert Road, for 29 years, said: “A lot of our customers work at Rolls-Royce.

"It’s good because it means local people will be earning.

"Hopefully they will stay in the town and spend their money here.”

Gail Usher, of House of Flowers, in Frank Street, described it as “fantastic” news.

She said: “There have been problems with redundancies at other businesses, but this sort of news will create the ‘feel good’ factor in the town and that spreads around.”

Jill Smith, who works at Victoria’s Cafe, in Albert Road, said: “It impacts on other firms. We do get a lot of people coming in here who are visiting Rolls- Royce. Businessmen come in for their lunch, so hopefully this will add to that. So many people have lost their jobs recently, so this is good news for the whole town.”

Silentnight worker Sandra Leck said: “Industry has been disappearing, so it’s really great news. Silentnight and Rolls-Royce are the two biggest employers in Barnoldswick. Quite a lot of people in the town work there, so this will help.”

Retired Jean Barrett, of Barnoldswick, said: “It sounds like it will be excellent.

“I don’t think unemployment has been as bad here as it has in some places, but this will provide jobs to local people.”

Alec Smith, of Barnoldswick, said: “It will be great because Rolls-Royce and Silentnight are the two biggest employers in Barnoldswick.

“It is badly needed because there are a lot of people out of work round here at the moment.

“It will help people in Colne, Nelson, Burnley, and Skipton.”