Pork Farms, the former Northern Foods business, is to close its Trowbridge factory in an attempt to ensure it can continue making Melton Mowbray Pork Pies after they are given EU protected status.

The company said that following a 90-day consultation with staff and unions, the plant would shut early next year, with production moved to its Queens Drive site in Nottingham.

This factory is inside a zone that is set to become the only area in which Melton Mowbray Pork Pies can be made when they are given Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Commission. An £11m investment project in Queens Drive was already under way and due for completion in five months time, said Pork Farms.

Transfers for some staff at Trowbridge to other factories within the business had already been arranged.

"The relocation is needed to achieve the cost structure required to protect and develop our business in the UK," said Mike Godley, general manager at Trowbridge.

Pork Farms was sold by Northern Foods to private equity group Vision Capital last year. Northern Foods had mounted a legal challenge against the PGI application for Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.