A COUNCIL leader has said “everything that could be done was done” to save Cleveland Bridge.

Councillor Heather Scott put the company’s collapse down to “very poor performance” – but pointed to successes in former workers getting new jobs.

The leader of the cross-party administration was asked about Cleveland Bridge at a Darlington Borough Council meeting.

Cllr Stephen Harker, leader of the Labour group, said he was disappointed a way was not found to save the firm.

He said: “The company has its origins back as far as 1877.

“So as well as the fact of the loss of those jobs – it’ll have a huge impact on many families in Darlington – it’s also a sad loss for the local authority.

“It’s a world-renowned company. There are many structures that are still in existence around the world that we all know about that that company built.

“So it was with great sadness that I think all of us would say that that company is lost forever.

“What I was disappointed about was the fact that we were unable to do anything about it.

“We’ve seen in the last year that when the government and local authorities put their minds to it, any amount of money could be found to resolve certain issues.”

He referred to a Teesside factory which had “money thrown at it to help it through difficult times.

“So I was very disappointed the government was unable to do the same for Cleveland Bridge.

“I can’t believe that a company of that long standing, despite the difficulties it was clearly having in the short term, was not a company that could have been saved for the long-term prosperity of Darlington.”

Cllr Scott replied: “We did everything that we possibly could to try to save the jobs at Cleveland Bridge.

“Obviously there are confidential issues over this which I can’t reveal here, but I have to say I think the whole problem of this was really down to very poor management.

“It is historically a very important part of Darlington and its history and world renown as a company.

“We do regret what has happened, but there were complications with contracts abroad and both of the two MPs and myself and the local authority, with the trade unions, did everything we possibly could.

“But unfortunately at the end of the day it couldn’t be saved.”

She said workers were offered jobs at a recent job fair.

“One piece of good news is all the apprentices there who worked for Cleveland Bridge have received offers of alternative employment across the Tees Valley.

“I think we all regret, as residents of Darlington, the demise of Cleveland Bridge.

“But I assure you that everything that could be done was done.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054