MP ‘disappointed’ at Rolls-Royce’s plans for Barnoldswick sites

Rolls-Royce, Bankfield site Barnoldswick.'Photo Ben Parsons
Rolls-Royce, Bankfield site Barnoldswick.'Photo Ben Parsons
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Pendle’s MP has expressed his disappointment at Rolls-Royce’s future expansion plans for the company’s Barnoldswick sites.

Andrew Stephenson wrote to Rolls-Royce’s Chief Executive John Rishton in June saying planned redundancies in Barnoldswick were “deeply regrettable especially considering the fact that the site has the potential to expand”.

Mr Stephenson, who is Vice-Chairman of the Aerospace All-Party Parliamentary Group, said in the letter: “Pendle has a thriving local aerospace sector and a ready supply of potential employees with the requisite skills.”

The MP also said Burnley’s newly-opened University Technical College would continue the conveyor belt of skilled apprentices, and that Rolls-Royce’s Barnoldswick sites fell in a zone of Assisted Area Status from now until 2020, meaning that European and government funding is there to support business in areas identified as in need of investment but with a high growth potential.

Responding, Mr Rishton said Barnoldswick remained an “important” site and said redundancies would be first with agency workers and by voluntary means for permanent staff where possible.

Mr Rishton said: “We continue to invest in the site and additional car parking is currently under construction.

“We are shortly to make a planning application for new process chemical storage facilities to improve our environmental management on the Bankfield site.”

But he said that while the Assisted Area Status was “welcome development for the area”, Mr Rishton did not at present anticipate Rolls-Royce would be able to make use of it.

Mr Rishton added that Rolls-Royce was working with a number of organisations “to maintain the talent pipeline of skills and knowledge” and that the firm was developing a project for University Technical College students to spend one week placements with Rolls-Royce.

Speaking to the Barnoldswick and Earby Times, Mr Stephenson said: “I think it’s disappointing when you look at Rolls-Royce’s order books at look it how is expanding.

“I think Barnoldswick has been overlooked for a number of years and in some ways run down.

“But I will continue to do whatever I can to ensure that the job losses at the site are kept to a minimum and make the case for future investment.”