THE loss of over 100 jobs at Esterline Wallop Defence Systems has prompted reactions from local bodies vowing to help all concerned.

Andover Area Committee at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce expressed its shock at the announcement that the plant would close imminently with around 70 employees set to work for the last time on the site just ahead of Christmas.

The remaining approximately 40 employees are due to continue working at the site, which has been operating since 1946, into the New Year as part of a gradual ‘wind-down’ of the site over several months.

A spokesman for the committee said: “The Andover Area Committee of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is dismayed and shocked about the sudden loss of jobs at Wallop Defence systems.

“The loss of these jobs will have a devastating impact on the village of Over Wallop and the rural Test Valley district.

“We sincerely hope that the parent company being Esterline Corporation will look after and support the staff that are losing their livelihoods and the local community.

“This is a particularly bad time to lose your job and we are really concerned for the people losing their jobs just before Christmas.

“These job loses also come shortly after there have been 50 other jobs lost in Andover and this is a real concern for us.

“We really did not expect such job loses especially after having come out of the recession.

“We are confident that Job Centre Plus will do everything possible to help and so will the Test Valley Borough Council, but we will need other local businesses to do their part too.

“We hope that other businesses in the area will be able to employ some of these people and hopefully quite soon too.”

TVBC’s economic portfolio holder, Councillor Peter Giddings, said: “We are sorry to hear about the job losses at Esterline Wallop Defence Systems.

“As ever, the council works hard to promote Andover as a place to live, work and do business.”