Planning consent has been given for a new multi-million pound business park which could see the creation of more than 2,500 jobs in County Durham.
As a first phase, Durham County Council is funding the construction of seven speculative units (comprising 155,000 sq ft) at Jade Business Park, next to the A19 and Dalton Park, which will create investment opportunities in east Durham.
The project has been made possible thanks to the partnership between Durham County Council and Highbridge Properties, which is developer of the UK’s largest office park, Cobalt, in North Tyneside, employing 14,000 people.
Following the planning approval, construction is expected to start in August this year and take around nine months.
The 55-acre site in Murton has the potential for up to 750,000 sq 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.
Cllr Alan Napier, Deputy Leader of Durham County Council said: “This is great news for East Durham and the region. Jade Business Park is one of our key strategic employment sites, bringing thousands of new jobs and the associated economic boost to the county.
“We have been working on the development for several years and it’s really exciting to see our long held aspiration becoming a reality as part of our wider plans for the regeneration of the east of the county and the A19 corridor. We are looking forward to continuing to work with our partners to deliver this development”
Guy Marsden, director at Highbridge Properties, said: “Getting the green light for this major inward investment site provides a huge boost to the local economy and employment market. Jade Business Park is a new generation Enterprise Zone which is highly attractive for business, occupiers and investors as it offers tailored solutions and government support packages to meet their individual’s needs. All of this, combined with a location that offers fast access to the motorway network, good public transport links and ample parking available on site makes Jade a very compelling place to do business.”
Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, welcomed the news.
He said: “Receiving planning approval is fantastic news and means that we can now proceed with the building of these industrial units. They will be of particular interest for companies working in the thriving supply chains of major firms in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors. The position of this site is perfect for access to the A19, the ports, airport and train stations so should appeal to a wide range of businesses.”
The road leading directly from the site to the A19 has already been completed with £14m of funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) and the Highways Agency.
Helen Golightly, chief executive at the North East LEP, said: “We were pleased to be able to support the necessary infrastructure works for this Enterprise Zone through the Local Growth Fund. With its access to the A19, Jade Business Park will be an attractive location for high-value manufacturing businesses and we look forward to seeing it take shape and creating more and better jobs for the region.”
The park will become a designated Enterprise Zone which will enable tenants moving into the units once complete to apply for Business Rate Relief up to £275,000.
Agents CBRE and HTA are working with the developers to market the site and are confident there is a strong demand for the planned units.