Construction work is set to start on the site of Southampton’s former Ford factory.

The automobile giant has been granted planning permission for a new vehicle refurbishment centre.

The firm shut its Transit plant in Swaythling last July.

Seventy workers have been kept on to work at the new centre, while another 64 are already working at a new distribution centre in the docks.

The city council’s planning panel approved the proposals, which will use existing buildings at the rear of the site, at a meeting yesterday.

A spokesman said: “Ford is investing £12m in the vehicle distribution centre at Southampton docks and the vehicle refurbishment centre on the plant site.

“The distribution centre will form part of Ford’s logistics operations, involved in import vehicle handling and onward distribution, and the shipping of engines to China.

“Low mileage used vehicles will be processed by the refurbishment centre for supply to the Ford Direct sales programme.”