BUSINESSES could lose vital trade when Gloucestershire's biggest private employer Renishaw makes a third of its Wotton-based workforce redundant.

Following an announcement that 500 jobs will be cut worldwide, the manufacturing company has since confirmed that 300 of these are likely to be made at the New Mill site on the outskirts of Wotton-under-Edge.

Traders in the town have reacted with concern that with so many local people being made redundant there will be less money coming into the town centre.

Merilyn Swift, manageress of Cotswold Natural Food Store, in Long Street, said; "I think it will make a difference to the town centre, especially to the lunchtime trade.

"We have a lot of Renishaw people come in for healthy snacks and sweets. So far the recession hasn’t really hit the town, it is a little quieter but it hasn’t been too bad. But with these job losses we might feel the effects more."

Owner of furniture shop Mungos, Jacqui Moore, said: "I think the redundancies will have a dramatic effect on the town because a lot of people rely on trade from Renishaw workers.

"There will be a knock on effect on cafes and sandwich shops, the rental market could be affected because we may see lots of people move out of Wotton and it will also have a general effect on the morale in the town.

"Lots of people are tightening their belts and some people will hear the news about the job losses and start worrying about losing their jobs, this will make them think twice about spending money."

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, pledged his support for those made redundant.

He said: "This news is a bitter pill to swallow, particularly as workers have already been on a voluntary pay cut of 20 per cent since February.

“The effects of this will be far reaching as those who are made redundant will have less money to spend in shops and businesses in and around Wotton.”

However chairman of the Wotton Chamber of Trade, Alex Wilkinson, said the effects should be minimal as only 20 per cent of the New Mill workforce live in the Wotton area.

"We believe that of the job cuts being made only about 70 to 90 of them will be people who live in the Wotton area, so it is not going to badly affect the local area," he said.

Mayor of Wotton Paul Smith said whatever happens, the whole community of Wotton would support those who are made redundant.

He said: "Obviously there will be some effect on the town as a result of these redundancies but hopefully it will be minimal.

"One thing you can say about Wotton is that the community is very, very supportive and that is a great advantage."

With 912 staff currently at the New Mills factory the redundancies will see a third of the workforce cut, a further 95 jobs are at risk in Woodchester and 75 at the factory in Stonehouse.