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Business & Economy

New home for Armstrong Watson following sustained North East growth

When Armstrong Watson first opened an office in Newcastle’s Quayside, it housed four colleagues, with the business a relative newcomer to the city. In little more than five years, however, the firm has had to relocate twice to larger premises following sustained organic growth and the acquisition of two North East accountancy practices. Its latest home, in One Strawberry Lane, shows much promise, and it’s hoped it will be the firm’s city centre base for many years to come. 


Armstrong Watson’s growth across the North East has been rapid. 

In 2018, the accountancy, business and financial advisory firm launched its first office in Newcastle and since then it has seen major expansion across the region, growth across services and sectors, and the welcoming of many new colleagues. 

Following the acquisition of the long-standing accountancy practice Joseph Miller in January, the firm has operated two locations in the city – at the City Quadrant, in Waterloo Square, and from Joseph Miller’s offices in Milburn House, Dean Street. 

Its move to the new multi-million-pound smart office in One Strawberry Lane will bring the 45-strong Newcastle team together under one roof. 

The new office – housed within a £30 million, six-storey building in the Gallowgate area of the city next to St James’ Park – has been designed by housing association Home Group, which has moved its head office there. 

Recognising the economic importance of the region, Armstrong Watson initially launched a small, serviced office at the Regus Business Centre, expanding on long-established offices in Hexham and Northallerton, just across the Yorkshire border. 

Senior tax partner Jim Meakin joined as Newcastle office lead, and was also head of tax consultancy at the time. 

He shared the vision of the huge opportunities for North East-based businesses and how the firm could help drive them forward. 

Managing partner and chief executive Paul Dickson explains: “Our aim is to be recognised as the ‘go-to’ firm for family-owned businesses throughout the North. 

“It had been an ambition for Armstrong Watson for as long as I can remember to have a presence in Newcastle upon Tyne as part of our growth strategy in the North East of England. 

“We knew there was space for Armstrong Watson with our depth and breadth of offering, and since 2018 we have continued to build on the expertise we offer across all our service lines and sectors.”

Within two years, Armstrong Watson had outgrown its original Quayside base and moved to larger premises in the City Quadrant. 

This was followed by the acquisition of Eura Audit Northallerton in February 2020. 

Since then, the 155-year-old firm has continued to grow across the North East, and made two of its largest acquisitions – Patricia J Arnold & Co, in Hexham, in 2021 and, most recently, Joseph Miller, which saw the Newcastle team double in size, welcoming 20 new colleagues including partners David Gold, Chris Reah and Edith Chapman. 

The Newcastle team is now led by tax partner Hydeam Sulton, who joined Armstrong Watson in May last year, and who also leads the firm’s VAT and indirect tax practice nationally. 

Hydeam says: “The opening of our new office is a key element of our future growth and delivery plans in Newcastle and the North East.  

“One Strawberry Lane is a landmark development and reflects our ambitions in the region.

“With the recent acquisition and now a state-of-the-art new office, this is a really exciting time.

“I’m really looking forward to the benefits this will bring to colleagues and clients.”

The last 12 months have also seen the creation of a payroll team hub in Newcastle, alongside a recruitment drive across the wide breadth of the firm’s service lines.

The move to One Strawberry Lane continues extensive investment in Armstrong Watson’s northern stronghold and comes just months before the relocation of the firm’s head office in the centre of Carlisle to a new purpose-built site on the outskirts of the city. 

Paul says: “We acknowledge the importance of investing in our teams, and of equal priority is the need to invest in the right environment for them to work in and provide our clients with the best possible service.

“We now have a full-service proposition in Newcastle, with strong accounting, payroll and tax teams.

“This gives us an incredibly robust foundation to build on our ambitions to grow further in the North East and to continue to support businesses in the region to maximise their opportunities to grow and prosper.”

David adds: “Apart from benefiting from a superb modern working environment, the move to the new office enables us to pool our resources more effectively, bringing our teams together to offer a comprehensive range of services to clients.”