CHARD has been warned to brace for the 'massive negative impact' the closure of Oscar Mayer sites would have on the town.

The head of Somerset Chamber of Commerce has reacted to the news that 860 jobs could be lost in Chard over the next 12 months, and highlighted the knock on effort it will have on the the town.

Stephen Henagulph is the county chamber of commerce's chief executive.

He said: “It’s going to have a massive negative impact, not only from the loss of 860 jobs but also the impact on the supply chain both up and down from the factory.

“They use a lot of local materials in their products and a huge numbers of workers live locally, and it’s the cascadement of the employees’ Pound into the local economy that is also going to be lost.

“The news of the factory going is devastating on its own, but it’s both upstream and downstream from that which will affect the local newsagent, the barbers, the pubs, the local restaurants in the area.

“Oscar Mayer is one of the top five employers in that region and I don’t think we can underestimate the impact that’s going to have on the workforce and the wider economy.”

Yesterday, the leaders of Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council joined forces to launch a task force, aiming to mitigate the impact the job losses would have on the town.

To read the full story, click here.

Chard's mayor, Jason Baker, also reacted to the announcement saying he was 'deeply saddened' by the news.

For his full response, click here.

On Wednesday, Oscar Mayer announced the start of a process which could see all the food giant's Chard operations shut down over the next year.

For the full story as that news broke, click here.