Optare moves production to Leeds

A Lancashire bus maker is moving production to an assembly plant in Yorkshire.

Optare, formerly East Lancashire Coachbuilders, said 60 out of the 99 staff in Blackburn are expected to relocate to the site at Sherburn, near Leeds.

The move will bring 80 years of bus manufacturing in Blackburn to an end.

However, the site will remain as a store and for engineering development and specialist vehicle conversion work.

The company, founded in the 1930s as East Lancashire Coachbuilders, said its plans to move began two years ago.

East Lancashire Coachbuilders went into administration in 2007 and was bought by the Darwen Group. It became Optare after the purchase of another bus manufacturer.

Four years ago, the firm was was building up to 200 buses a year in Blackburn but since then production has been scaled down as more work was switched to Yorkshire.

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