The company which brought Hitachi Rail Europe to Newton Aycliffe has admitted Brexit is to blame for a major multi-million pound development not happening.
Merchant Anglo developed the site now known as Merchant Park, where Hitachi located its £82m rail manufacturing facility which opened three years ago.
There were plans to develop swathes of land around the Hitachi factory, with ‘tier 1’ supply-chain suppliers lined up for the development.
But the uncertainty around the UK’s departure from the UK has put firms off – as enquiries “fell off a cliff” after the EU referendum – denying Aycliffe Business Park of potentially thousands more jobs.
Merchant Anglo says it has had to re-think its strategy and is now taking to the market a range of smaller units which it says there is a market for in Aycliffe and surrounding areas.
Adrian Goodall, Merchant Anglo development director, told Aycliffe Today: “After the completion of Hitachi we were very confident we’d be able to find tier 1 suppliers interested in adjacent plots.
“The future looked bright and we had a lot of enquiries, then Brexit happened, and those enquiries fell off a cliff.
“We’ve taken a step back and re-appraised the market, and what has become apparent is that there’s an indigenous market that we can support.
“Having engaged with local employers, it’s clear there are varying requirements from 5,000 sq ft up to 50,000 sq ft, so we want to provide a much wider base of property opportunities.”
Merchant Anglo is planning to build three new units near to Hitachi’s rail manufacturing facility covering a total 25 acres.
The new Station Place development will be made up of three units – one up to 193,000 sq ft (8.55 acres), one up to 82,000 sq ft (3.2 acres) and the third up to 312,000 sq ft (13 acres) – and are scheduled to be available by summer 2019.