GLOBAL medical technology business Smith & Nephew is closing its York facility after more than 20 years in the city with the relocation of 80 jobs.

Staff have been told the firm creating a new UK Commercial Hub near London, which will lead to the closure of the York site by the end of 2016.

While changes are not set to happen immediately, staff have been told that over time their roles will move to other facilities including an existing site in Hull, the US and the new Hub.

Smith & Nephew first moved to York in 1992, and was the first resident on York Science Park, taking an 83,000sq ft building near to the University of York.

The company said following a review of all UK sites, and as a result of the lease on the York site due to end in 2017, it has chosen the area "immediately north of London" for its new Hub due to its "excellent transport links within the UK and internationally".

In a letter to employees, the company said: "We are close to finalising our search for the property and will announce this in the near future.

"We expect the first roles to transition to the new Hub in early 2016."

Smith & Nephew said it was in consultation with all affected staff, and where possible will look at relocation options and flexible roles.

Tracey Smith, managing director of York Science Park, said: "From our perspective it's very sad to see Smith & Nephew leave.

"They were integral to the launch of the Science Park as our anchor tenant, and they have used their building, which is home to a mixture of office space and laboratories, in various different ways over the years.

"The space they have vacated will be hugely popular, and I expect in high demand thanks to York's thriving science scene."

During its time in York, Smith & Nephew has also worked on a number of research projects with the University of York, and was one of the early members of Science City York.

A spokesperson for the University, said: "The University has enjoyed a warm and mutually beneficial relationship with the company.

"Smith & Nephew has been active in supporting research at York particularly in Biology and was a key player, along with the University, in York’s designation as Britain’s first Science City in 1998."

Heather Niven, head of Science City York, which is now part of Make It York, said: "We are disappointed to hear of this news, Smith and Nephew has been a long standing member of Science City York’s business network.

"The company has been heavily involved in the growth and prosperity of the city over the last 23 years and has engaged with the business community, contributing significantly to supporting bioscience business growth.

"While a move would represent a key loss for the city, York’s science and technology industries are buoyant and we remain committed to bringing new businesses into the city, as well as supporting existing ones."