EXCLUSIVE: By Martin Walker
The name of the park which will be home to Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m train-building facility in Newton Aycliffe has been changed, after a well-known worldwide internet firm enforced copyright laws.
Amazon, which sells books and DVDs online, has forced Newcastle-based developers Merchant Place Developments to re-think the name after a four-year battle.
Merchant director Geoff Hunton (pictured) revealed that the site, originally called Amazon Park, will now be known as Merchant Park.
Mr Hunton was speaking at a meeting of the Aycliffe Business Park group at Ebac on Friday.
In a video interview with Aycliffe Today, he said: “When we set off on this five years ago, our advisors chose Amazon Park because of the Amazon Forest and this was a green area – it was green, it was big, it was bright and it’s beautiful.
“Unfortunately, a year later, Amazon books thought we might decide to start selling books from here or we might use their branding. I didn’t realise Amazon have licence on the branding worldwide.
“But very amicably, over the past five years, we’ve agreed to change the name of the park to Merchant.”
Mr Hunton says, ultimately, the name of the site doesn’t really matter.
Archaeology work has started on-site and construction is expected to start in November, creating 250 jobs, while it will boost the area with 730 permanent jobs once open for business.
Mr Hunton added: “What matters is that this is now real and it’s happening.
“We’ve had so many ups and downs, but this is now reality. The contracts have been signed with the government, and the contracts have been signed with Merchant, so we’re totally committed to the site.
“Indeed, archaeology works has already started and we’ll soon see the rail systems moving on to site as well.”
The next Aycliffe Business Park event is at Aston Hotel on Friday September 6 – more details about the group and news can be found at www.aycliffebusinesspark.co.uk
● More details about the latest event and Mr Hunton’s full interview will be included in the next issue of Aycliffe Today Business, due out in a couple of weeks.