A PETITION to keep 480 civil service jobs in a town has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.

The Department for Education (DfE) plans to transfer the posts from Mowden Hall, in Darlington, to Newcastle, as part of large budget cuts.

The Government has identified Mowden Hall for closure due to its poor state of repair.

Community leaders, including Darlington MP Jenny Chapman and Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, and unions and staff members have put forward alternative sites at Lingfield Point and Northgate House, in Darlington, to accommodate DfE workers.

The Save Our Jobs petition, led by The Northern Echo, will be presented to Education Secretary Michael Gove at Downing Street.

A separate petition organised by workers, Mrs Chapman, Mr Dixon, and Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, took place over the weekend in High Row, Darlington, and saw dozens of people offer their support.

Mrs Chapman said if the DfE moved out of Darlington, it could take £21m away from the town’s economy every year.

She said: “We need to keep the heat on the department, and this is all about showing that these jobs are a wider concern for the whole town, as well as the 480 staff members.

“We have to make them aware of the importance these highly skilled workers have to Darlington.

“It was good to talk to people to find out what they think of the proposal and everyone we spoke to was happy to put their name down on the petition.”

To sign the petition, go to northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition