The silence is deafening. Two years since the shocking closure of Cleveland Bridge, the plans for the future of the site have never seen the light of day and now it is only the weeds that are growing at the vast Yarm Road site, with the council admitting they are "not currently aware of any proposals."

In 2021, there were shockwaves acoss the whole region - this was a legendary name, almost untouchable it seemed, but now those huge red gates were closing for good.

The empty 370,000 sq ft site was snapped up at the time by Adhan Group who said it planned to start an “extensive refurbishment” programme and create an industrial park for a number of businesses.

Martyn Pullin, partner at FRP and joint administrator of Cleveland Bridge said at the time: “We are pleased that the former Cleveland Bridge plant has the opportunity for a positive future."

But the site was quickly sold on to Mohammed Asjad, who has a large number of business interests - many around the North West - and became Managing Director of Darlington Investments.

In an exclusive insight into his plans, Mr Asjad said at the time: "We're very pleased that we've got a big tenant in the background who have been there two or three times on site visits. Obviously, we've also been talking to the smaller tenants as well, but ideally wanted to take on the larger employer."

So what happened?

Darlington and Stockton Times: Inside Cleveland Bridge before its shock closureInside Cleveland Bridge before its shock closure (Image: Newsquest)

We have tried to contact Mr Asjad, but no reply so far. The idea of attracting a single investor to create another North East icon is a long shot, to say the least. But we know there is global interest in this part of the world at the moment, so if some of that could be pointed towards a very cheap 30 acres on Yarm Road, who knows?

As a site to be split into smaller units the problem is scale - the investment would be significant and the return dependent on smaller rents rather than one big sale. Possible, but Mr Asjad would need to be a very persuasive seller to get the response he needs.

Certainly the raw passion of the closure will not have diminished among former workers, but the fight and the fury has gone over the last two years and the site is now a commercial property asset rather than the home of hopes and ambitions.

The fight goes on, but it has all slipped far down the list of priorities.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s vital that we see investment into the site of this famous business.

“We are making excellent progress with our work to bring investment and jobs to the town, but seeing this site come back into use would provide a significant boost to the area. I hope this can come forward sooner rather than later and will continue to push to find a positive outcome.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Cleveland Bridge workers meet at the siteCleveland Bridge workers meet at the site (Image: Newsquest)Darlington MP Peter Gibson said: “I remain saddened that this engineering icon has been lost due to lack of support and investment from an disinterested owner. The lasting legacy of Cleveland Bridge lives on in the structures around the globe, in the skills talent and expertise of the workforce and in the collective pride our community has for its worldwide contribution."

He added that he was at least pleased that the memorial plaques to their fallen in the War have been preserved for the town and could be on display soon.”

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman offered little hope, saying: “We are not currently aware of any proposals for the future of the former Cleveland Bridge site.

"As has always been the case, we would be happy to hear from any interested parties to have discussions and see how we can best support the right project.”

All the right people are ready to help, but no one is left to drive the fight for the future of the site and we once again have a glaring sign of industrial failure dominating our landscape.