A FORMER employee at an under-threat factory says a green revolution could save 150 years of history and keep the site open.

Engine manufacturing firm MAN Energy Solutions has announced plans to shut its facility off Hythe Hill, Colchester.

Formerly Paxman Diesels, work has been undertaken at the site for more than a century.

But David Constable, 63, who lives a stone’s throw from the site in Falcon Crescent and worked there as a youngster, said solar panels could lead to more profit.

He said: “The roof space is between three and five acres which could produce a megawatt - enough energy to provide 3,000 homes.

“That could be real profit.

“The roof is facing south meaning there would be sun throughout the day.

“It would be a form of justice, in a way, to compensate for all the fumes over the years and go greener.

“They already have a way to get power they produce into the grid, it would just need to be upgraded.

“The company is a subsidiary of Volkswagen and they do exactly the same thing at one of their sites in North America.

“It would not be totally alien.

Mr Constable said he was saddened by the announcement that the site was set to close with up to 80 jobs on the line.

Bosses have said some people could be offered roles at an alternate site in Stockport.

Mr Constable said: “I have tried to contact the managing director at MAN but have had no luck.

“If they are serious about offering energy solutions then they might give this a go.

“We have lost so much engineering expertise in this town - it is so sad.

“There have always been boom and bust periods, times when there have been no orders and times when they cannot keep up with demand.”

Labour councillors have called for Colchester MP Will Quince to lobby the Government to keep the site open.

A petition from them has attracted more than 500 signatures.

Mr Quince has said he would attempt whatever he could to prevent the closure, but feared there was nothing he could do.

To sign the petition visit change.org/p/will-quince-mp-save-paxmans-colchester-no-to-closure.

Jan Zebitz, MAN Energy Solutions managing director in the UK, said the market had simply become “unbearable”.

He added: “ Collective consultation with both Unite and elected employee representatives are currently ongoing. We will give an update once these close.”