DEFENCE contractor Babcock is leaving Christchurch's Aviation Business Park for good.

The British-based multinational firm – the second largest supplier for the Ministry of Defence – said it had already wound down its operations on its site in Enterprise Way to such an extent it was no longer economical to maintain the building.

A spokesman said: "A number of support functions within Babcock’s Aviation Sector were based at Hurn.

"However, it is no longer a business critical location and with already reduced employee numbers at the office, continued occupancy was not financially viable.

"Teams based at Hurn have been relocated to other key Babcock sites, which is consistent with the group approach to consolidating our employees into our core locations."

The firm said there had been a small number of job losses.

"There have been four compulsory redundancies for the facilities management staff and a small number of people chose not to relocate to other Babcock sites," the spokesman said.

Babcock, also a major service supplier to Network Rail, has aviation, maritime and military wings and operates in numerous countries overseas.

In February it announced it would face an additional £10 million tax bill due to Brexit restructuring. The firm posted revenue of £4.7 billion in 2018.

The loss is a blow for the business park, for which plans for major expansion were recently announced.

Owner Regional and City Airports, an arm of Rigby Group, plans to submit three separate planning applications to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council in an attempt to develop the facilities at the site.

The Daily Echo understands these projects include introducing a new internal link road between the east and west business parks to improve transport capabilities.

In August last year, Sir Peter Rigby, group CEO, told the Echo the trading estate was “virtually full”.

The ongoing council and local enterprise partnership BIG Programme road improvements in the area at Parley, Hurn and Blackwater are aimed at improving the viability of the park.