Sports car specialist TVR, one of Britain's few remaining independent carmakers, is to shut its Blackpool factory with the loss of 260 jobs.

The Transport and General Workers Union yesterday said TVR had told its officials at a meeting that the factory would be closed in six months.

"They propose to keep some presence in the UK but we don't know what that is. It sounds like it may be a relocation," a spokesman said. "Our members, the workforce, are in a state of shock."

The future of the company was thrown into doubt when, initially, it was reported that 73 out of its 260-strong workforce had been temporarily laid off.

But the company, owned by Russian millionaire Nikolai Smolenski, said there was "no way" it would close. Spokesman Ian Law was later quoted as saying: "The factory will move from its present Bristol Avenue site.

"No decision has yet been made as to where it will be moving to. There is a chance TVR might move out of Blackpool. We are yet to discuss the options with Mr Smolenski and we are due to have a meeting with the unions on May 3."

The T&GWU claimed that production had fallen from 12 cars a week to just two, but this was disputed.

"Between Christmas and now, six to ten cars a week have been going out of the factory," TVR said in a statement. "There is no way the company will be closing. There are 73 temporary layoffs out of a workforce of 260."