IT is the end of an era for Dursley as Lister Petter announces it is getting set to leave the town.

The engineering company, based in the town for over 140 years and at its height employed close to 5,000 people, is moving its 200-strong workforce to a new purpose-built site in Hardwicke, near Quedgeley.

The company is trying to strengthen its position in the global market and the move is also linked to the ongoing £150 million development scheme at Littlecombe in Dursley.

A planning application for the new site has been submitted by developer St. Modwen and the new 40,000 square foot facility is planned to be completed in the spring of 2014 and will include production, warehouse and office accommodation.

Councillor Geoff Wheeler, leader of Stroud District Council, said maintaining and strengthening the local economy was one of their main priorities.

“Keeping Lister Petter in the district will retain 200 skilled jobs in the area, benefiting the business, its employees and the district,” he said.

“At the same time it would represent a major step forward in development of the plans for the 92-acre Littlecombe site. We hope to be signing an agreement with the company very shortly.”

Chief executive officer of Lister Petter, Bryan Draper, said they were committing £2m to the project.

“Support from Stroud District Council will help us relocate to a purpose-built facility at the Quedgeley West Business Park in Hardwicke and invest in new plant and machinery,” he said.

“With close links to the M5 and a stone’s throw from our existing warehouse at Waterwells, it’s the ideal location for us.

“The move would allow us to retain our valued, skilled employees, create further job opportunities and continue Lister Petter’s historic association with Gloucestershire.”

Dursley Town Council clerk Helen Bojaniwska said: “Dursley Town Council is pleased to learn that the business will be staying in the district, but obviously saddened that the business’s long history in the town will be coming to an end.

“It is disappointing that the company’s expansion plans could not be accommodated in the town, but we are hopeful that additional jobs can now be created on the Littlecombe site.

“The council will work with the district council to encourage new businesses to fill the space.”