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Fresh jobs hope as Blackstone agrees data centre deal for former Britishvolt site

A failed automotive battery-making site is poised to be transformed into a £10 billion data centre.

Blackstone Group has agreed a deal to buy Britishvolt’s former base in Cambois, Northumberland.

Bosses say the 235-acre plot, which has stood idle since Britishvolt’s collapse early last year, would house a huge “hyperscale datacentre campus” holding potential to create and support thousands of jobs.

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet is set to discuss the deal, which carries an undisclosed amount, next week.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, the authority’s leader, said the blueprint represents a “really unique opportunity (and) offers a huge boost to the regeneration and renaissance of the area”.

If approved, he added the council would receive up to £110 million, which would be used to create a new investment fund for the county.

US private equity firm Blackstone’s agreement marks another twist in the Cambois site’s story, which was initially bought by Britishvolt to make hundreds of thousands of electric vehicle batteries in a factory – pictured, above –  it said would create as many as 3000 jobs.

However, the company collapsed in early 2023 after running out of cash.

The site, on former Blyth Power Station land, subsequently attracted interest from Recharge Industries, but its deal floundered.

Bob Maxwell, from receiver Begbies Traynor Group, oversaw the Blackstone sale, and said it could “kickstart an entire tech industry cluster in the North East”.

He added: “From a difficult situation, the future sale will ensure a very bright future for the site.

“The process of securing a dependable buyer who has a clear, deliverable plan for this important land asset was crucial after the failure of the last business at the site.

“This ensures a well-funded and respected new owner can bring the enterprise and employment to the site that it deserves, and will be a huge boost for the whole region.

“It’s scale and location make it perfect for a European data hub.”

April 15, 2024

  • Business & Economy

Created by Steven Hugill