Durham's Refresco bottle plant to close with 93 job losses

Related Stories

More than 90 jobs are to go with the planned closure of a soft drinks bottling plant in Durham.

Bosses at the Refresco factory said the decision followed the company's merger with Somerset-based Gerber Emig.

Work currently done by 93 staff on the Belmont Industrial Estate site is to be switched to a similar facility in the West Country next year.

Managing director Gerry Smith said about half of the workforce would leave the factory by Christmas.

The company, which bottles fruit juice for most of the UK's major drinks manufacturers, has been in Durham since 1970.

Declining market

Talks with the Unite union are ongoing about the possibility of relocating some staff to Somerset.

Mr Smith said: "Following the merger there are now two plants doing much the same thing, but which are also both underutilised in a market which is declining.

"Regrettably, the decision has been made to close Durham and move work to our sister plant in Bridgwater.

"Obviously this has come at the worst time of year, but we are making every effort to offer staff opportunities in Somerset should they want to move.

"We expect the plant to cease production by the second quarter of next year."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear


Newcastle upon Tyne

Min. Night 14 °C

BBC Local Live

    Good evening 18:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    That's all from Local Live today. Join us again tomorrow from 08:00. We leave you with this great picture Alan Thompson sent us of Hylton Castle in Sunderland.

    Hylton Castle in Sunderland

    You can send your pictures by email or tweet @BBCNewsNE and we may feature them tomorrow.

    'Stroke of luck' 17:58: Peter Harris Look North

    Two fishermen are recovering after spending nine hours stranded in a life raft 18 miles out to sea with no way of calling for help.

    But the pair had an astonishing stroke of luck when two passing Dutch yachts spotted them waving frantically and pulled them aboard.

    The fishermen, from Hartlepool, had sunk after their net apparently snagged and tipped the boat over. Their Dutch rescuers say they were "extremely pleased" to see them. There's more on Look North tonight on BBC One at 18:30, or catch up here.

    Showers in the west 17:51:

    It'll be largely dry for eastern areas with partly clear skies. Some isolated light showers may affect more western areas. Feeling a little fresher overnight with a westerly breeze.

    Weather forecast

    Minimum Temperature: 12C (54F). Check the forecast near you.

    'Making the place safe' 17:44: via Facebook

    We've had a lot of reaction to our story about a sign which read "no wheelchairs today" being put up on a pub in Sunderland during the airshow at the weekend.

    Nell Bridges says on Facebook: None of this makes sense. There will be a safe maximum capacity for fire regs and this will take into account the legal right of wheelchair users to be there. If they've exceeded that capacity they need reporting for that as well as for disability discrimination.

    Simon Watson says: There's no health and safety defence to this. You're required to make a publicly accessible building SAFELY accessible to wheelchairs. If it's unsafe for a wheelchair to enter then it's unsafe full stop.

    On the programme tonight 17:32: BBC Look North
    • An inquest's been opened and adjourned into the death of a man who drowned near North Shields Fish Quay at the weekend.
    • The family of a County Durham man who died months after being punched in a nightclub in 2010 are taking their bid for justice further.
    • Cragside in Northumberland is today once again illuminated by electricity generated by water.
    Dad 'doesn't know where son's body is' 17:21:

    The father of Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney, who died in the MH17 plane crash, says he still doesn't know where the body of his son is.

    Barry Sweeney said that's been hard to deal with. He made the comments after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street.

    Barry Sweeney leaves No 10

    Mr Sweeney said: "I feel very angry, frustrated. It would be nice if they could just stop fighting for a little while so we could get all the boys and girls home."

    Give us your feedback 17:11:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

    News on the hour 16:59:

    The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

    Rally drivers complete charity bid 16:50: Northumberland Gazette Newspaper

    Amble rally driver Andy Smith and co-driver James Air completed a charity rally earlier this month to raise funds for Cancer Research.

    Man arrested at charity night 16:39:

    A man has been arrested after a group of men started fighting at a charity night at a cricket club in Alnmouth, Northumberland.

    The fight broke out at about 00:20 on Sunday at Alnmouth and Lesbury cricket club. No-one was seriously injured, police said.

    The 24-year-old was arrested on suspicion of affray and was later bailed. Alnwick Neighbourhood Insp Paul Truscott said: "This was a charity fundraising event being held for a good cause and it's such a shame that a minority have chosen to cause problems."

    Victims' relatives leave Downing Street 16:23: Andrew Hartley BBC Look North

    Barry Sweeney and other relatives of victims of the MH17 plane crash have left Downing Street after their meeting with PM David Cameron.

    Barry Sweeney and other relatives of victims of the MH17 plane crash
    Club returns after 25 years 16:12: News Guardian
    News on the hour 15:59:

    The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

    Abandoned kittens now thriving 15:52: Newcastle Chronicle

    A litter of kittens left in a box in Saltwell Park in Gateshead are now thriving at the Westgate Ark cat home in Newcastle's West End.

    Galloping greats remembered 15:38: Bethan Bell Journalist, BBC News

    I've been looking at how galloping greats have been honoured in unusual ways. For example, Red Alligator became the fifth horse since the end of World War Two to win despite carrying more than 10st in weight.

    A County Durham brewery changed the name of its pub from The Crown and Anchor to The Red Alligator.

    Red Alligator

    The inn, which was near his home stables in Bishop Auckland, is still in business.

    Games final for Jemma 15:24: Hartlepool Mail Newspaper

    Jemma Lowe reaches another final at the Commonwealth Games.

    Swimmer Jemma Lowe

    The Hartlepool swimmer will take part in the 4x100m as part of Team Wales. Read more online.

    More speed cameras introduced 15:11: BBC Tees

    North Yorkshire Police say they're doubling the number of mobile speed cameras in the force's area.

    Police figures show more than 8,000 people were killed or seriously injured on the county's roads between 2010 and 2012 alone. Hear more on this story on BBC Tees.

    News on the hour 14:58:

    The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

    'Not 100% politically correct' 14:42:

    The landlord of a pub in Sunderland says he didn't mean to cause offence by sign which said "no pushchairs or wheelchairs today" during the Sunderland Airshow.

    Licensee Derek Winlow, speaking about the sign which was up on Saturday and Sunday, said: "I assure you there was no malice in any signage that went there, it was purely a decision made on the spur of the moment because of health and safety concerns.

    The Promenade in Sunderland

    "The signage might not have been 100% politically correct, but we do our best."

    Burglars 'posed as customers' 14:28: The Gazette Newspaper

    Burglars who stole thousands of pounds worth of furnishings from a Stockton family business may have posed as customers to plan their crime.

    Families arrive at Downing St 14:18: Andrew Hartley BBC Look North

    Barry Sweeney, the father of Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney who died in the MH17 plane crash, and other relatives of the victims have arrived at Downing Street for their meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.

    Sea death man named 14:11:

    A man who died after jumping into the sea in North Tyneside has been named as Paul Fairley, 46, of Queen Street, North Shields.

    It is believed he got into difficulty after entering the water at North Shields Fish Quay at about 17:30 on Saturday.

    North Shields

    His inquest was opened and adjourned this morning by North Tyneside and South Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong. The full hearing will be held on 4 September.

    News on the hour 13:59:

    The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

    Durham win toss and bat 13:53:

    Durham have won the toss and will bat first against Kent. Keep up to date with live commentary here from 14:00.

    Wedding boss stole deposits 13:46: Sunderland Echo Newspaper

    A wedding venue manager stole couples' deposits to pay off drug dealers, a court has heard. Paul Hayes, 32, had worked for Sunderland's Quayside Exchange for seven years.

    Bike for Bobby 13:34: Chris Conway BBC Newcastle

    I'm back from my ride/interview with Phil Gray who's pictured here, the organiser of the @BikeforBobby charity ride. Hear it on Friday on @BBCNewcastle.

    Phil Gray
    Man hit by bus 13:22:

    A man suffered serious chest injuries when he was knocked over by a bus in Durham, police say.

    A 62-year-old from Hetton-le-Hole was crossing North Road in front of the bus station when he was hit at 15:00 yesterday. He was airlifted to the RVI hospital in Newcastle.

    The bus driver and passengers were not injured. The man is in a stable condition and Durham Police is appealing for witnesses.

    'Hurried decision' 13:10:

    The licensee of a pub on the seafront at Sunderland says he didn't mean to offend anyone by placing a sign on the door saying "no pushchairs or wheelchairs today. Thank you".

    Disability campaigners have condemned the action.

    Derek Winlow says the decision was made on health and safety grounds, adding: "In the heat of the moment and the busyness of the day - it was a hurried decision."

    News on the hour 12:57:

    The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: The licensee of a Sunderland pub apologises after placing a sign which read "No pushchairs or wheelchairs" during the airshow
    • BBC Tees: A consultation's under way over the future of some of the region's train stations
    Police catch 'Cinderella' thief 12:47:

    Police in Stanley, County Durham, say a man has been arrested after a report of shoplifting. We told yesterday how the thief had left his shoe behind after a customer chased him.


    The Derwentside division of the Durham force tweeted that a man had tried to steal cider from a Cooperative store on Tyne Road in Stanley at 21:30 on Sunday.

    Police probed by other force 12:29: Northern Echo Newspaper

    Claims that senior officers at Cleveland Police conspired to cover up institutional racism will be investigated by an external police force, it has emerged.

    Slow traffic near abnormal load 12:12:

    There's very slow traffic on the A1 Western Bypass southbound between Hexham turn off in Gateshead and the A167 Durham Road junction in Lamesley because of an abnormal load.

    More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

    News on the hour 11:58:

    The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

    Bus stop crash man dies 11:45:

    A man who crashed into a bus stop in Flatts Lane in Middlesbrough has died in hospital, Cleveland Police say.

    Stephen Horne, 58, from Middlesbrough, crashed on Sunday morning. An investigation is continuing.

    Turning brighter this afternoon 11:35:

    It will be rather cloudy, with the chance of seeing the odd light shower before it turns drier and brighter later this afternoon with a fresh breeze picking up.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 22C (72F). Check the forecast near you.

    Sacked staff 'can't get justice' 11:22: The Journal Newspaper

    Sacked workers in the North East are being "priced out of justice", unions have claimed.

    Bike for Bobby interview 11:10: Chris Conway BBC Newcastle

    I've got the padded cycling shorts on and I'm off to meet Phil Gray, the organiser of the Bike for Bobby charity event. Hear him on BBC Newcastle on Friday.

    Chris Conway in padded shorts
    News on the hour 11:00:

    The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

    Silver 'meant a lot' 10:50:

    After winning another silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Middlesbrough's Aimee Willmott tweets: Thanks for all the lovely messages of good luck and congratulations! That silver medal tonight meant a lot to me tonight!

    Not moving out 10:36: Jonathan Miles BBC Newcastle

    Nearly two million working young adults aged between 20 and 34 are still living with their mother and father. Either they've not left or have come back.

    Is this the sign of a serious cost of living problem? Call me at BBC Newcastle on 0191 232 6565 before 12:00.

    Hunt for woman after phone theft 10:24:

    This selfie was taken on a phone after it was stolen in Newcastle.


    A handbag containing the phone was stolen inside Powerhouse nightclub in Westmorland Street in the early hours of Saturday 12 July.

    The picture was taken and then uploaded to the cloud. Police now want to speak to the woman, who has taken a number of photos since.

    Second silver for Willmott 10:12:

    Middlesbrough's Aimee Willmott - who was runner-up in the 400m medley earlier this week - picked up her second silver of the Games last night, being narrowly beaten to the touch by Canada's Audrey la Croix in the women's 200m Butterfly.

    Aimee Willmott

    Meanwhile, on the track, Teessider sprinter Richard Kilty finished sixth in the last of the evening's 100m semi-finals and failed to make the final. Keep up with our live coverage.

    News on the hour 10:00:
    Kilty dedicates season to David 09:50: The Gazette Newspaper

    Richard Kilty exits the Commonwealth Games 100m but dedicates his season to his late friend David Zikhali

    'Offensive and rude' 09:37: BBC Newcastle

    We've had a lot of reaction to a photo of a sign that was put up outside a pub in Sunderland which said "No pushchairs or wheelchairs today. Thank you".

    Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson told BBC Newcastle: "I find it offensive and rude. I hope it was an unfortunate mistake and that someone wasn't thinking.

    "Disabled people do have money to spend, we're not just an inconvenience and my chair doesn't take up any more space than a normal chair. It sends out a really poor message about inclusion in society."

    As it happened
    • News, sport and weather for Tue 29 July
    • Join us again from 08:00 on Wednesday
    • Listen Live: BBC Tees and BBC Newcastle
    Train cash cuts to fund improvements? 09:22: BBC Tees

    Should there be cuts to trains serving some of our smaller stations so more money can be spent on bigger improvements? Tweet us @BBCTees.

    'No wheelchairs today' 09:11:

    This sign saying "No pushchairs or wheelchairs today. Thank you" was put up at the side of the entrance of The Promenade pub in Sunderland during the airshow this weekend.

    Promenade sign

    Disability campaigner David Burdus, director of Burdus Access Management, said: "I'd have been incandescent... I'd have boycotted and sat there and turned people away."

    BBC Newcastle rang the pub several times yesterday but nobody was willing to talk to us to explain why the sign was put up.

    News on the hour 08:58:
    Custody suites 'need improvements' 08:47:

    Improvements are needed to custody facilities across Northumbria Police, government inspectors say.

    Monitors from HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary made unannounced visits to 13 sites in February.

    They praised the overall treatment of detainees, but expressed concern about facilities for the disabled and the cleanliness of some medical facilities. Chief Constable Sue Sim pledged to act on the report's recommendations.

    Barry Sweeney to meet PM 08:36:

    David Cameron is due to meet the British families of the people killed in the crash of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

    Barry Sweeney's son, Liam, was one of the 10 British passengers who died and was on his way to New Zealand to watch Newcastle United play.

    Liam Sweeney

    Barry told BBC Radio 5Live: "I will meet with David Cameron today. It will be a privilege to be honest with you. He'll ask me questions, I'll ask him, and all I'll say to Mr Cameron, if I can, I try to say everything from the heart, and say 'help' and get them all back."

    North Sea fisherman rescued 08:25:

    Two fishermen were rescued after spending nine hours adrift on a life-raft when their boat sank in the North Sea.

    They had been fishing 12 miles (19km) off the coast of Sunderland when their vessel hit a submerged object and quickly sank, Humber Coastguard said.

    The pair were picked up by a Dutch yacht at about 16:40 on Monday. The crew of the yacht contacted the coastguard, who arranged for the pair to be transferred to a lifeboat.

    Roads are fairly clear 08:13:

    All is looking fairly clear on the roads this morning. However, keep an eye on the latest on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

    Cloud will thicken later 08:06:

    Dry and bright initially with some sunshine, mainly near eastern parts. Cloud will thicken late morning, with a chance of the odd light shower early afternoon.

    Weather map

    Sunny spells will return in the late afternoon with a fresh breeze picking up. Maximum temperature: 22C (72F). Check the forecast near you.

    Good morning 08:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live, I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.