Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Weston jobs move 'could endanger town's regeneration'

Castlewood, Clevedon
The Castlewood site in Clevedon closed earlier this year

A plan to move up to 500 council jobs from Weston-super-Mare to a neighbouring town could endanger the resort's regeneration, its MP has said.

John Penrose said he is "concerned" at North Somerset Council's plan to move staff from three offices in Weston to an empty building in Clevedon.

The council has said the relocation would cost £16m but save taxpayers money in the long-term.

It intends to carry out a major consultation on the plan next year.

The scheme would involve North Somerset buying the former Clerical Medical building at Castlewood in Clevedon.

'Cost savings'

Mr Penrose said: "I'm all in favour of North Somerset trying to keep our council tax down by reducing its office costs, but not at the expense of the rest of Weston's economy.

"Local residents need to know how many jobs are really at risk in Weston.

"The council say it won't be anything like the speculative numbers in the press, but they can't confirm the real figures for me at the moment. Frankly, that's not good enough.

"Westonians need to know that their council is still fully committed to redeveloping our town."

Graham Turner, North Somerset's chief executive, said the move would be "better for our customers, better for the public, better for cost savings and better for our staff".

The council said it could not be specific over numbers of jobs involved until the consultation process is over.

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