Factory disappearing

AN important part of Greatham’s history is slowly disappearing from the landscape as a former factory bites the dust.

The former Cerebos and Sharwoods food factory, which employed hundreds of people over the years, is being demolished after falling into disrepair.

A 22-week demolition project is well underway and one side of the 30-acre site has already been cleared.

Police and parish councillors said the buildings had become a danger after being targeted by vandals and metal thieves, with open drops and broken glass covering the site.

Parish councillor Mike McKie, who led efforts to make the site safer, said it will be sad to see the factory go.

He said: “It is very unusual going down to the site and seeing nothing there because it was such an important part of the village.

“People met their wives and husbands there and was a big part of Greatham, but because of the way it ended up I think people are pleased at the outcome.

“I think it is the best result for the site when it had got to such a dangerous state.

“At least it will be safer for people.”

Cerebos, in Marsh House Lane, first opened a factory on the site in 1906 and employed hundreds of people over the years.

In the 1970s, it was taken over by RHM making cereals, soup and soft drinks.

In 1997, Sharwoods bought the site and made chutneys until it closed in 2001.

Over the following 10 years it fell into increasing disrepair and people were warned to stay away.

A breakthrough with the owners, The Helping Foundation, came late last year after Hartlepool Borough Council approached them to try and improve the site.

It is understood they decided to demolish the building after realising it could not be developed.

Coun McKie said the parish council hopes to keep a memento of the site to serve as a lasting memorial to its importance.