Thirty jobs out of 392 at the ill-fated Monroe shock absorber plant in Shipton Road, York, will stay in the city.

The Brussels headquarters of parent company Tenneco Automotive has decided to keep on the 47-year-old factory's design and development team at new offices and workshops at the Northminster Business Park in Northfield Lane, Upper Poppleton.

The York Inward Investment Board (IIB) and Northminster Properties Ltd negotiated 5,000 sq ft of offices and 3,000 sq ft of workshops for the 30 who move there in February.

Brian Charnock, Tenneco's product and facility manager, said: "This decision means that we will retain jobs in the York area covering engineering design and commercial skills. Our global ride tuning team (which tests new shock absorbers on prototype cars) will also be based at the new location."

Paul Murphy, chief executive of the York Inward Investment Board, described the retention of jobs as "the silver lining amidst the dark clouds".

The 30 are among the final 140 left on the site. The manufacture of shock absorbers has ended with phased redundancies, but axles, links connecting components to car chassis and tubes are continuing to be made there until March.

Then the 18.2 acre site, listed on the local strategic plan as being for employment use, will be sold - and the company has already submitted plans for a massive housing development there. Meanwhile of the 252 who have left, about 90 per cent have either found other jobs, retired, or made their own arrangements.

The success followed huge on-site efforts by Tenneco to help redundant workers find other jobs and an appeal in Business Press to business leaders to offer them work.

Sue Harrand, human resources manager, said she intended to contact the remaining ten per cent to assure them that the services of a support group would continue. The support group, set up by the City of York Council's economic development unit, includes the employment service, the benefits service, York College, Target Training and the Industrial Chaplaincy.

* One Monroe official who has been offered work is plant manager Tony Smith who, as he phases out of his York job, will phase into a new job as plant manager of a Tenneco shock absorber factory in Sint Truiden, Belgium.