OVER 800 jobs could be on their way to South Lakeland during the next two to five years, a council leader claimed tonight.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, Lib Dem leader Coun Peter Thornton, told the chamber that the jobs could be delivered through a combination of local firms now able to expand and due to council work to lure companies to South Lakeland.

He explained SLDC's inward investment and economic development arm - Invest in South Lakeland - was involved in talks with many different firms expressing an interest in relocating.

Said Coun Thornton: "We have local firms talking about expansion plans because we have provided the opportunity for them to expand through our Local Plan, and because of the new sites we are looking at 800-plus jobs in the next two to five years - excluding GlaxoSmithKline."

Last year, SLDC adopted its Local Plan which has earmarked more than 20 new employment sites across the districtm, as well as pinpointing where as many as 5,200 homes could go - 35 per cent of which have to be affordable.

Coun Thornton was responding to a question on how the Lib Dems' pledge to create '1000 new jobs and 1000 new homes' was going.

He pointed out that in the first quarter of 2014 alone - an 'incredible' 74 homes for affordable rent were due to be completed with a further 1750 likely over the next decade.

"It has surprised me how good these figures are," said Coun Thornton, referring to the number of homes being completed.

"And I feel very confident we are going to hit our targets. Officers are working tremendously hard. They are meeting with social housing associations, developers and getting people to the table."

In terms of new jobs created in the current quarter, Coun Thornton said he was not able to provide these figures as they had not yet been fully collated.