HOPES of saving a North-East steel foundry have been crushed after a sale was negotiated for its assets.

The buyer, William Cooks, will buy the assets of the company but the ten remaining staff will be made redundant within the next three weeks. Cooks had previously put a bid in January, along with local firm Teescraft, but talks stalled and the administrators, Deloitte looked elsewhere.

A spokesperson from Deloitte said: “The joint administrators have agreed the sale of the assets of Bonds Foundry Company Ltd to the William Cook Group. Discussions regarding Bonds Precision Castings Ltd remain ongoing with interested parties. The joint administrators would like to thank all of the employees for their support throughout the administration process.”

The 152-year-old company owned three foundries located in Crook, Alston and Scunthorpe but the administrators did not want to sell the sites separately.

Workers at the foundry had hoped the administrators would sell to a company with plans to keepit in business such as local engineering firm Teescaft, which placed a bid for sites at Alston and Crook. A worker at the site said that an Italian firm also made a bid to buy the foundry and keep it open, however it was turned down in favour of a previous offer made by Cooks.

Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We were sorry to hear about the redundancies at Bonds Foundry’s sites at Crook. We have been working with our colleagues at Business Durham to support efforts to find a new buyer for the sites as part of a multi-agency response.

“We are also doing what we can to support staff, with members of our employability team offering help to those affected with CV writing, negotiating redundancy packages and job searches.”

Durham County Councillor for Crook, Anne Reed said: “Over the past 25 years industry has disappeared its quite a blow to the people of Crook. It is important to attract more companies to our area otherwise the skilled workforce will go elsewhere. Bonds have been there for over 150 years and the town relies on companies like Bonds. We have good transport links and a highly skilled work force with knowledge passed through generations. I hate to see it lost.”