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Business & Economy

New County Durham business park could ‘bring 2,500 jobs’

Developers behind a new, multi-million-pound business park on a former colliery site say it could create more than 2,500 jobs in County Durham.

Durham County Council is funding the construction of seven units – comprising 155,000sq ft – at Jade Business Park, next to the A19 and Dalton Park, which will help revitalise east Durham.

The project has been made possible thanks to the partnership between Durham County Council and Highbridge Developments, which is behind the UK’s largest office park, Cobalt, in North Tyneside, employing 14,000 people.

Planning permission for the development has been submitted to Durham County Council and, if successful, site works are expected to start in August this year and take around nine months.

The road leading directly from the site to the A19 has already been completed.

The 55-acre site has the potential for up to 750,000sq ft of space for offices, large-scale manufacturing and distribution tenants.

The site will be owned by Durham County Council and managed by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for the county.

Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, said talks were well underway to secure the first tenant.

He said: “This is a fantastic collaboration between the county council and developer Highbridge to create ready-made units, particularly for international companies working in the thriving supply chains of major firms such as Nissan, Caterpillar and Komatsu.

“The position of this key site is perfect for access to the A19, the ports, airport and train stations.”

Guy Marsden, director at Highbridge Properties PLC, said: “We’re excited to submit planning for the first phase of this proposed major inward investment site.

“Jade Business Park will give the local economy and employment market a tremendous boost – creating up to 2,500 jobs once the Jade scheme is completed.

“Jade is a new generation Enterprise Zone and will provide flexible and bespoke solutions for businesses to tailor to their exact needs and, with support packages available from this government led site, it is a very attractive location for business occupiers and investors alike.”

The first phase of the proposed development offers seven industrial buildings with service yards and integrated offices – all set in an easily accessible location, with the A19 trunk road providing links to Hartlepool, Sunderland and directly to major motorway networks.

The site will also offer good public transport links, ample parking and electric vehicle charging stations.

The park, which is a former colliery and cokeworks, will become a designated Enterprise Zone.

The development has been made possible with almost £14 million of funding for highway and infrastructure works from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) and the Highways Agency.

It will help fund a programme of works to increase the capacity of the A19/A182 junctions serving the business park, which will allow for future growth.

The project received funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Local Growth Fund is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

Helen Golightly, chief executive at the North East LEP, said: “Jade Business Park will be a significant site within the region offering an attractive location for high-value manufacturing businesses with excellent transport links.

“We are pleased to be able to support the necessary infrastructure works for this Enterprise Zone through the Local Growth Fund and look forward to seeing the site take shape with new businesses moving in and creating more and better jobs for the region.”

Councillor Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The Jade Business Park is a really exciting development for East Durham as it is one of our key strategic employment sites that will bring over 2,500 jobs to the area.

“We have worked hard with all partners to bring forward the development that will revitalise the former colliery, create much needed jobs in the county and support the wider plans to create more and better jobs to regenerate our towns and villages.”