Hanson Building Products is opening its Claughton brickworks after mothballing the Lancashire plant three years ago.

Hanson expects the works to open by the end of the year as the plant is geared up for production again. The company has also put on extra shifts at works in Kirton in Nottinghamshire and Desford in Leicestershire, in the face of rising orders as housebuilding starts to increase.

In addition, Hanson is increasing production at its Thermalite block factory as quoted delivery dates for lightweight block extend to up to three months.

Hanson’s David Weeks said: “The first quarter of this year was fairly quiet, but since April, demand for bricks and blocks has picked up, fuelled principally by the upturn in private-sector housebuilding.

“The entire industry is under pressure from this welcome but unexpected hike in demand after five years of volume decline and production cut-backs, and we are looking to increase manufacturing capacity as soon as we can to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ requirements.

“We always said when the time was right we’d go back there. We’ve looked at forward orders and talked to housebuilders and we’re pretty sure it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Brick deliveries are still well below peak but government figures for the three months to May show deliveries were double the quantity in the preceding quarter.