A KINGSWINFORD councillor fears hundreds of jobs could be lost when an energy company closes its offices later this year.

Npower has announced it plans to shut its High Street premises during the coming months and Cllr Patrick Harley is warning closure could leave many workers on the dole.

The company says it plans to relocate workers but Cllr Harley says he has been told by employees that offices in Worcester, Oldbury and Solihull are fully staffed and many of the 300 Kingswinford jobs could be outsourced to India.

He said: "It will be a devastating blow, there is nowhere for them to relocate to if the employees are to be believed, we think about two thirds of the staff live in Kingswinford and Wall Heath."

Npower is a major employer in the area and there are also fears closure could hit the High Street shopping centre.

Cllr Harley said: "You see a lot of people from the offices shopping there, Kingswinford is starting to revive and this would be a bitter blow."

Npower is currently carrying out a nationwide review of its workforce and the company would not give any details of planned job cuts for staff in Kingswinford.

An npower spokesperson said: "We spoke to our people last year to say we would be closing the offices as part of a process of restructuring.

"Some of our people will be relocated whilst there is an ongoing review.

"We will update our people first on any changes that will affect them, as they are our number one priority."

Meanwhile Cllr Harley and Dudley South MP Chris Kelly are set to meet npower bosses next week for negotiations on the future of staff at the Kingswinford office, which they have been told by workers is scheduled to shut in October.

There was better news on jobs for the area after it emerged supermarket chain Lidl has applied for permission to build a store on the Duckworth Trading Estate in Stallings Lane which would create 40 jobs.

Dudley planners are also set to hear an application from Morrisons for an upgrade to their store on Stallings Lane, which could create up to 70 new jobs.