BOURNEMOUTH Water is preparing to shed jobs after its takeover by a larger company.

Around 34 posts have been placed at risk of redundancy, although the company says the final figure will be lower.

Pennon Group, which owns South West Water and the waste company Viridor, bought Bournemouth Water for £100million a year ago. The deal was cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority in November.

Pennon is merging its two water companies and said it has produced “integration proposals” which reflect “shared best practice and smarter ways of working”.

A statement said: “Combining the two companies will create a single, efficient organisation, employing more than 1,500 people, that delivers long-term benefits to customers and shareholders.

“Subject to consultation, a number of roles in both service areas could be either redeployed or phased out over the course of this year. “However, potential redundancies will be kept to an absolute minimum as every effort will be made to redeploy to existing vacancies or secure alternative opportunities.

“The Bournemouth Water name is being retained. In Bournemouth, the number of customer-facing roles is expected to increase following the creation of a new non-household retail service company with 20 new job opportunities initially. But there may be a modest reduction in back office staff which will be managed sensitively and fairly, following full consultation.”

It said it would still deliver service improvements, while bills would reduce by £1 from April.

It said the number of jobs at risk would reduce because staff could be redeployed. There are currently 20 vacancies listed with the new company, with more expected. It also said that in an example where five roles were being reduced to four, all five jobs were officially placed at risk.