Lancashire mayors saw encouraging signs of the upturn in the county’s economy when they visited Hanson Cement’s Ribblesdale site.
As a group of 27 civic leaders from across the county toured the site, Hanson Cement’s operations manager Simon Moorhouse was able to report that sales for both bagged and bulk cement had seen significant increases in the past six months.
He said: “Our decision to replace traditional paper bags with plastic for bagging cement has proved extremely popular with builders merchants. But the largest increase is for bulk cement, indicating that demand is being fuelled by the ready-mixed concrete sector supplying major infrastructure and commercial projects, rather than the repair and maintenance sector which generally uses bagged products.” As part of the tour the Ribble Valley Mayor’s party saw a new £1.5 million automated plastic bagging plant – capable of packing 1,000 bags an hour – and prospects are the company will have to put on extra shifts to keep up with demand.
The Ribblesdale site felt the brunt of the recession in 2011 when 30 jobs were lost, but prospects look encouraging for the future. Hanson Cement currently employs 188 people at the site.
The annual Lancashire Mayors visit, hosted by Ribble Valley Mayor, Coun. Richard Sherras, also visited Stephen Park outdoor activity centre in the Gisburn Forest in the morning. The party took lunch at Eaves Hall in West Bradford before going onto the renowned Stonyhurst College at Hurst Green.
Coun. Sherras commented: “The annual mayor’s civic tour gives a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beautiful and historic Ribble Valley countryside, to demonstrate how young and often disadvantaged people can be introduced to the delights of rural pursuits, and highlights – like here at Hanson – the vital role played by a whole range of businesses, high tech to rural, large and small, in providing employment and sustaining the Ribble Valley economy.”