Hope for the former British Ceramic Tile factory near Newton Abbot

  • Video report from Richard Lawrence

There is hope the former British Ceramic tile factory near Newton Abbot could play a key part in Devon's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Its landmark tower, alongside the A38, has been demolished while the rest of the building is undergoing a multi million pound refurbishment.

Three hundred and fifty people lost their jobs when the firm collapsed in 2019, but developers say the site is now attracting widespread interest.

British Ceramic Tiles closed suddenly in January 2019.

The production line operated 24 hours a day to keep up with demand for home improvement and building projects.

But with no warning at the end of January the firm went into administration after losing a "key customer contract".

Steve Monk, a former employee of the firm, oversaw the demolition after helping to build the factory a decade before.

He says: "A part of me is quite upset because I was involved in the build of the factory, and then the running of the factory for 10 years, the maintenance, so we put a lot time into maintaining the equipment that was there."

The history of the site dates back to the 1850s.

The site has now mostly been cleared, and renamed as Power Park.

Its history as an industrial site dates back to the 1850s. With a ready supply of English china clay close by it was the perfect location for manufacturing ceramic products, and was one of the largest factories of its kind in Europe.

Something needs to raise from the ground really from the disaster which was the closure with 15 minutes notice for the employees. It would be nice if some of them could end up on this site.

Steve Monk, Project Manager

At its height it was producing up to five million square metres of tiles a year, and the hope is manufacturing will return to the site.

A quarter of the building is being taken over by Gregory Distribution for warehousing, while the rest could be sold off in three lots.

Tim Weston, of JLL Property Services, says: "It's ready for occupation and it would be great to see the jobs that were unfortunately lost here back as soon as possible."

Talks are also underway for another manufacturer to take over the site and it is hoped it will not be too long before it begins the next chapter in its history.

At its height British Ceramic Tiles was producing up to five million square metres of tiles a year.