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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 06:55 GMT 07:55 UK
Call for jobs at cement site
Blue Circle Weardale
The cement works closed in 2002

There is still anger in Weardale that nothing is being done to find new jobs after the closure of the former Blue Circle cement works a year ago.

The works, which were taken over by the French company Lafarge, had employed nearly 150 people.

A task force was set with the aim of creating hundreds of new jobs, but plans to regenerate the area have been criticised as being impractical.

Among these were a proposal for a new model village with hot springs, tapped from 2,000 feet underground.

The tiny community of Eastgate relied heavily on the cement works.

New ideas

Doctor John Bridge, is chairman of regional development agency One North East and a member of the Weardale Task Force.

He said: "Out of the 147 the total number still seeking work is two, we have to get that into perspective.

"We have also done a great deal of work trying to build up work at local businesses.

"We have also looked at a wide range of ideas to diversify into new jobs in the dale, including tourism."

Harry Irwin, parish council chairman at Stanhope, said: "The future is going to be very difficult, but we need some manufacturing job in this dale.

Renewable energy

"We need someone to come in and create from between 100 and 150 jobs - that is what we need badly.

"There was someone who wanted to get a factory going but everything has been put in his way."

The Upper Weardale Task Force, comprises various bodies including One North East, Durham County Council, and Wear Valley District Council.

Other ideas include developing renewable energy systems in the area including solar power systems and the use of hydro-electricity to power the new model village.

Plans are also being looked at to re-open an 18-mile stretch of rail track to restore a service to the Weardale area.




SEE ALSO:
Lafarge to buy Blue Circle
08 Jan 01  |  Business
Cement giant 'open to offers'
11 Sep 00  |  Business


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