Belgrave factory chimney is demolished for new homes

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Media captionThe chimney in Belgrave was 114ft (35m) tall

A chimney which was part of a former factory has been demolished to make way for 70 new homes in Leicester.

The landmark was part of the British United Shoe Machinery factory, which at one time was Leicester's biggest employer.

Properties in Belgrave were evacuated while the 114ft (35m) tall chimney was brought down.

Tom Keville, who was an apprentice at the site 47 years ago, pushed the button which started the demolition.

Mr Keville said: "It was [once] a thriving company but things change. It's been derelict for a while now and it's good to see it come down."

'Gone forever'

The factory closed 10 years ago and a £15m project to build affordable homes began on the site in 2010.

When the project is completed the area will have 1,200 homes, six play areas, shops and commercial units.

Former British United employee Peter Barratt said: "The manufacturing days of this city [Leicester] have gone forever but it's time to move on.

"It was a great place to work, it gave workers a social life and a working life."

The affordable homes are funded by grants from the Homes and Communities Agency, along with money from housing associations and New Growth Point government funding provided through Leicester City Council.

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