A MULTI-MILLION pound investment bringing over 100 new manufacturing jobs to west Wiltshire is bucking the national trend in the industry.

Cereal Partners has announced a £40m expansion of its factory at Staverton, near Trowbridge, to allow production of some of the country's most popular cereals to be moved there.

A spokesman for parent company Nestl said: "We started recruiting last week. Shreddies will be moving to the Staverton factory in early 2007 and Shredded Wheat later in the year."

The workforce will be increased from 100 to 155 and a further 50 jobs will be created at a purpose-built distribution centre to be constructed at a yet to be confirmed location on a Melksham industrial estate. The manufacturing industry has been facing hard times across the county as firms chose to move abroad in order to save costs and the Cereal Partners announcement has been welcomed by civic and business leaders.

Sarah Content, leader of West Wiltshire District Council and Staverton's county councillor, said: "This increase in employment is particularly welcome at a time when other manufacturing industries in west Wiltshire have been reducing staff. It can only be good news for the local economy."

Stefan Barbaruk from the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce said: "Some time ago there were redundancies at the Nestl site so we are obviously delighted to see some expansion in this area and that the company still has some faith in the site. This is very good news."

Nestl and Cereal Partners have had a long association with the Staverton site and the closure of the Nestl chilled desserts factory in 2004 with the loss of 150 jobs was greeted with dismay.

Cereal Partners now plan to expand into the old Nestl factory, demolishing the changing facilities and social club to make way for new buildings to allow the transfer of production of cereals from Hertfordshire.

Some of the lines currently produced at Staverton, which include Frosted and Cocoa Shreddies will be transferred elsewhere to allow the factory to concentrate solely on wheat-based cereals.

The site will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and recruitment is currently taking place for technicians and engineers as well as managerial staff. A planning application for the expansion has been lodged with West Wiltshire District Council and, if the project is given the go-ahead, work is expected to be completed by 2007.