CITY leaders have told of their “disappointment” for Hampshire workers after a wind turbine firm announced plans to create 2,000 jobs – in Kent.

More than 400 workers were laid off when Vestas closed its Isle of Wight factory and sister facility in Woolston, Southampton in 2009. Some staged a 19-day protest sit-in.

But now the Danish company, which blamed dwindling demand, is applying for planning permission for a new plant at Sheerness in Kent to build a new generation of turbines for the offshore wind industry.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said: “It’s a bitter disappointment in this area because we lost the jobs on the Isle of Wight and in Southampton, and that was no fault of the hard-working staff who had really worked flat-out for the company.

"I do think it’s a shame that Vestas has not looked at putting this new factory in our area, building on the loyalty and support they had built up here in the past.

“However, we have got to see it as really good news for UK plc.”

The announcement has been greeted with joy by government bosses and environmental campaigners.

But it will come as little comfort to the hundreds of staff who were shown the door in 2009 when orders for turbines started to dry up.

Southampton City Council Leader Royston Smith said he was pleased jobs were being created, but added workers would feel “really, really disappointed” that the company had not come to the city or Isle of Wight.