PARTS of an axed South Tyneside factory are being sold off in an online sale expected to fetch £60,000.
A two-year campaign to save high-voltage electrical equipment maker Trench UK included a plea to Prime Minister David Cameron by Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and a workers’ delegation to Westminster.
But the 80-year engineering plant, in South Drive, Hebburn, formerly the Bushing Company, was eventually closed by German owners Siemens last summer.
Now plant and equipment from Trench UK and the neighbouring iconic Clothier Building, off Victoria Road West, are being sold via online auctions.
The internet sales have already raised £30,000, with companies in China and India snapping up parts of the axed factory, where a campaign was launched in May 2010, after Siemens announced it was closing Trench UK, because of the age of the plant and foreign competition.
Demolition experts Masterton are flattening both Trench UK and the large Clothier testing lab, which has dominated part of Hebburn for decades.
The sale of plant and equipment is being managed through an online auction, soon to be followed by a second auction on eBay, plus direct sales to business.
Keith McDowall, the Masterton director overseeing the project, said the online sale had attracted considerable international interest, with companies in China and India already acquiring tools and equipment, while local engineering firms have bought many other items.
He said: “The online auction includes around 500 items of plant and equipment, and has generated about £30,000 sales so far and that is expected to double.
“In addition, we have salvaged and sold 2,000 tonnes of steel, including 1,100 tonnes from the Clothier Building alone, together with 270 tonnes of metal cladding and 35 tonnes of electrical cable.
“In addition to the sale of tools and equipment, we have reused some of the materials ourselves to backfill the site and prevent it going to landfill.”
Mr McDowall added: “The Trench UK project is a good demonstration of how many people – businesses, residents, overseas companies – can benefit, provided the decommissioning is carried out to the highest technical standards and procedures.”
Masterton will be on site until May, with the phased demolition of Trent UK complemented by the flattening of the Clothier Building.
The company has liaised with local residents and used water-spraying and other techniques to keep dust and noise to a minimum.