PRODUCTION has stopped for the final time at the city’s Britvic base - ending an 150-year association with Chelmsford.

The soft drink manufacturing giant, which makes J20 and Robinsons fruit squash, closed its factory doors at Widford for the last time.

Employees speaking to the Weekly News said it was a very sad occasion indeed.

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It has been strange as they have gradually closed the factory over the last few weeks so large parts of it are already sealed off.

“As you would expect there has been a sombre atmosphere on site recently, but it has been like that ever since they announced the closure last year.”

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns also expressed his deep sadness over the loss of an iconic name to the city.

The Tory MP said: “It is a very sad day for Chelmsford and those people who have been employed there as Britivic has been associated with the city for so long and been an important part of our local economy.”

Britvic bosses said ending the association with the company’s home was not enjoyable, but something they felt had to be done in a bid to save the firm £30million by 2016.

Altogether about 230 jobs have gone at the Chelmsford factory in Widford, which was opened in 1955 and stopped production last Friday.

A spokeswoman said: “While we are sad to be leaving Chelmsford where the business started, the closure is happening to make our factory network more efficient and competitive and it will help protect the long-term future of our company.”

In 2012, the firm closed its headquarters in Broomfield Road.