Following its pledge to invest £25 million in the UK’s economy and help alleviate the housing shortage, Wienerberger’s Ewhurst brick factory in Surrey has been reopened by Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, at an event that showcased the housing industry’s revival.
Officially reopened on Monday 2nd March 2015, the factory will contribute to an increase in Wienerberger’s brick production by 200 million units annually – the equivalent of approximately 25,000 new homes.
The event at the factory, which was mothballed in 2008 during the downturn in housebuilding, follows the opening of the company’s brick factory in Hartlebury last summer – the first of many initiatives introduced between January 2013 and January 2015 to help get Britain building again.
The opening of Ewhurst represents the latest stage of a wide range of initiatives implemented by Wienerberger since the start of 2013; all of which have been designed to showcase the company’s engaged approach to the key construction issues affecting the UK economy.
This phase of the broader investment will also substantially contribute to the creation of 150 new jobs across the UK.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:
It’s been a key part of our long-term economic plan to get the country building again and it’s working with housebuilding at its highest annual total since 2007, and nearly 192,000 people helped to buy or reserve a new home thanks to Government-backed schemes.
So I’m delighted that the factory at Ewhurst is reopening in response to this increased demand for bricks – a site that was mothballed in 2008 is now back up and running, which will contribute to providing jobs for 150 people and 200million bricks a year.
But we want to maintain this momentum, which is why we’re introducing Starter Homes – from today builders can submit their planning applications to build these properties, which will be available to young first-time buyers at a 20 per cent discount.
Harald Schwarzmayr, Managing Director of Wienerberger UK, commented:
The reopening of the Ewhurst brick factory is not only great news for the UK’s economy but represents a new lease of life for the construction industry. December 2014 saw the fastest paced growth within the sector in six and a half years and marked eight consecutive months of development; moreover, forecasts predict an incremental rise in construction between 2015 and 2018. By investing in materials and individuals we are confident that the housing sector will be able to reach its annual target of 250,000 new properties.
There are still challenges that the industry must overcome. The burgeoning issues include the affordability of housing, alongside the availability of mortgages. The skills shortage facing the construction industry is also set to become a considerable future obstacle alongside the availability of land and planning regulations. Once the materials are fully meeting demand however, the industry will be better placed to surmount these additional issues.
At Wienerberger, we have officially launched the e4 brick house™ concept to market, with the first house currently being built at BRE Innovation Park in Watford. The e4 brick house™ was developed to help address the need for affordable and sustainable housing across the UK, and will be the first house to be built to the BRE New Homes Standard.