Work is to re-start at the Cleveland Bridge factory next week as efforts to find a buyer for the threatened plant continue.

More than 300 staff facing losing their job at the historic company after it ran into difficulties linked to delayed construction projects during the pandemic.

The firm went into administration last week and administrators have been in talks with interested parties looking to take over the firm.

Read more:warning on Universal Credit cut

The company currently employs 221 permanent staff at its Darlington headquarters and an engineering base in Wales, along with nearly 100 agency staff working at various locations.

While those talks continue, the administrators have agreed to re-open the company’s Darlington plant and bring some staff off furlough to work.

A joint statement from the administrators, local politicians and unions said that efforts to save the company were continuing.

On Friday the administrators met with Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, MPs Peter Gibson and Paul Howell, employee representatives and the GMB union to appraise them of progress in efforts to save the firm.

The said they had “opened discussions with interested parties” and were now assessing takeover bids.

Martyn Pullin, partner at business advisory firm FRP and joint administrator of Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “We are looking to restart production and continue to hold discussions with interested parties over the future of the business.

“We are working quickly and diligently to assess the viability of those approaches and will need to determine how they align with our objectives and duties as joint administrators.”

The Darlington company, which dates back to 1877, is one of the best known North East companies around the world, having worked on famous structures including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wembley Stadium and Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge.

It was recently involved in the project to upgrade the Testos roundabout on the A19 in South Tyneside.

The company has been owned since 2000 by the Saudi Arabian Al Rushaid Group.