A run-down site at the heart of a neighborhood housing development is due to be transformed into a communal garden thanks to a donation by Chesterton brick manufacturers Ibstock.
Tenants at Trinity Court, Chesterton, have been given 1,500 bricks after they put forward proposals to turn a little-used public short-cut into a communal garden with raised flower beds.
Their plans were submitted as part of a competition run by Ibstock to mark the redevelopment of its Chesterton factory where more than £20 million has been invested in state-of-the-art brick making systems and energy-efficient kilns.
The company invited Newcastle’s Labour MP Paul Farrelly to make the donation to Lillian Barker, MBE, of the Chesterton Community Forum. She submitted the application on behalf of the tenants and their landlords, Aspire Housing.
The presentation was made after Mr Farrelly visited the company’s Audley Road works to see for himself how Ibstock’s investment had turned the plant into one of the country’s biggest brick makers and helped to safeguard more than 80 local jobs.
It also came days after Newcastle’s MP led a debate in the House of Commons over the crippling burden the UK ceramics industry faces over rising electricity prices compared with major competitors overseas.
“The company’s donation to Trinity Court is a testament to its commitment to our community and to the jobs of local people which are being secured through this vital investment in manufacturing,’ Mr Farrelly said after the visit.
“At a time when the UK economy is at last beginning to show signs of recovery, it is great to see that it is a Newcastle manufacturing company leading the way.”
‘The ceramics industry, like many, though, is an intensive user of energy – both gas and electricity. As with households, the government really needs to take action over the burden of ever spiralling costs, so that we do not lose jobs and investment overseas.’
After the presentation, Ibstock’s managing director, Wayne Sheppard, said the donation was an opportunity for the company to give something back to the community. “Local people have supported us through the redevelopment of the factory and our donation will make a practical improvement to the lives of residents at Trinity Court,” he added.
Ibstock’s factory uses clay locally from Knutton Quarry, where permission was recently given to extend extraction after long discussions with the local community over future restoration.
Mr Farrelly is pictured at the presentation with (from left to right) factory manager Karen Cunliffe, Ibstock Brick managing director Wayne Sheppard, Lllian Barker MBE of Chesterton Community Forum and Connie Dawson, Aspire Housing’s Regeneration Co-ordinator.