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Local Growth Fund project in South Tyneside nears completion

A Local Growth Fund project to create three new state-of-the-art industrial units on Monkton Business Park, South Tyneside, is nearing completion.

The £5m scheme by Washington-based Hellens Group has introduced 58,000 square feet (5,387 square metres) of new industrial space to the Hebburn-based Business Park, which is expected to create over 100 jobs.

The agents for the units, GVA (www.gva.co.uk) and HTA Real Estate Ltd (www.htare.co.uk), are currently seeking prospective tenants from the manufacturing sector.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive at Hellens Group, said: “We were delighted to receive £1.27m from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Local Growth Fund to support the build of these new industrial units, which are a real coup for the region.

“There are very few facilities of this size or spec in the North East so we’re expecting a lot of interest from companies located here already and those looking for a base in the region.”

In addition to funding from the Local Growth Fund, Hellens Group also received loan funding of £1.7m from the North East Investment Fund (NEIF), an evergreen loan fund also administered by the North East LEP.

Andrew Hodgson, chief executive of the North East LEP said: “This project is a fantastic example of the Local Growth Fund in action.

“The Fund was established to support industrial and commercial infrastructure projects across the North East LEP area. It’s great to see the development near completion as it will bring more jobs to the region and support our growing economy.”

The Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister Jake Berry said: “This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building a country that works for everyone. Through this investment of £1.27m from the Local Growth Fund towards the Monkton Business Park, we are giving businesses in the North East the tools and resources they need to expand and flourish.

Monkton Business Park has rapidly developed into a key business location in South Tyneside. The addition of the new units makes it one of the key Business Parks in the North East.

With close links to the A19 and A1, it offers businesses easy access to both Sunderland and Newcastle, and is well placed to serve manufacturers with supply chains north and south of the River Tyne. Importantly, it is less than 15 minutes away from the planned International Advanced Manufacturing Pak (IAMP) and Nissan’s Sunderland car plant.

The site is already home to a number of companies including Siemens, Hitachi Construction Machinery Ltd, Variable Message Signs (VMS) Ltd, Ford Component Manufacturing, Clugston Construction, Kier North and Keepmoat, along with many others.

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: “Seeing these much needed industrial units nearing completion is excellent news for South Tyneside. This project supports the Council’s strategic vision for economic growth across the Borough, providing first class business facilities, creating more job opportunities and making South Tyneside a place for the private sector to invest.

“It’s also fantastic that funding from the LEP’s North East Investment Fund and the Local Growth Fund has enabled the construction of these manufacturing units, which will offer new tenants opportunities to grow by tapping into the region’s supply chain.”

Simon Hill, Director at HTA Real Estate Ltd, said: “These units are specifically aimed at the manufacturing sector and we have already seen strong interest, which will increase on Practical Completion in August and when the Nissan supply chain contracts are awarded. The units are only 4.4 miles from Nissan and will therefore offer ideal accommodation for companies looking to expand or enter the North East market.”

The £270.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024. The North East Investment Fund was established as an evergreen loan funding to support capital projects that will lead to job creation.

For more information about the Local Growth Fund and North East Investment Fund, visit www.nelep.co.uk/funding

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North East LEP hosts live Investment Fund twitter chat

First of all, thank you to everyone who joined our live twitter chat on Wednesday 30 March. There is obviously a lot of interest in the North East Investment Fund (NEIF) from the business community so I was delighted to answer your questions.

Thank you also to Kevan Carrick, principal at JK Property Consultants LLP, and Gavin Cordwell-Smith, owner of Hellens Group, for your support and expertise too.

You can revisit the twitter chat below and we of course welcome any further questions about the Fund and how you can access it. For more information and advice about the North East Investment Fund, please contact Matthew Ebbatson, Programme Manager at the North East LEP on [email protected] / 0191 338 7432.

Feel free to tweet any questions via @northeastlep

To date, the NEIF has invested more than £58 million in the regional economy and I very much see the Fund as a sustainable source of income that will continue to support North East businesses looking to create more and better jobs in the North East.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jeremy Middleton
Chairman of North East LEP Investment Panel

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North East Investment Fund live Twitter chat

Wednesday 30 March, 7-8pm

More than £58 million has already been invested in the regional economy via the North East Investment Fund, which exists to support projects that will result in new jobs and economic growth.

The fund is welcoming new applications from projects in the region and on Wednesday 30 March the North East LEP will be hosting a live Twitter chat with Jeremy Middleton, Chair of the LEP’s Investment Panel, and members of the North East business community.

Join in to find out more about how you can apply for funding, the types of schemes that the fund can support and what the benefits are.

Follow the conversation using the #betterjobs hashtag and pose your questions to the panel:

North East LEP – @northeastlep
Jeremy Middleton, Chair of the North East LEP Investment Panel

Members of the North East business community taking part include JK Property Consultants (@jk_property ) and Hellens Group (@HellensGroup).

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Blyth Workspace development nears first anniversary

A quayside office development in Northumberland is nearing its first anniversary after it reached completion in March 2015, transforming a vacant plot into first-class contemporary managed offices, at the centre of the North East’s world-leading base for energy and research.

Blyth Workspace, which was supported by a loan from the North East Investment Fund, is now home to a range of North East companies which have moved into the 21,000 square feet of new office space.

Jeremy Middleton, Chair of the North East Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Investment Panel, said: “A £2.6m loan from the North East Investment Fund helped the development of Blyth Workspace get off the ground in 2013. Now the development is not only complete but is nearing its first anniversary as a centre for growing businesses in Northumberland.”

Companies based at Blyth Workspace benefit from the development’s proximity to the Port of Blyth and Narec, the National Renewable Energy Centre.

Cllr Dave Ledger, Arch Chair and Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “Working with the North East LEP and gaining support from the Investment Fund was pivotal in the success of Blyth Workspace. A year on from completion we’re in a fantastic position, seeing the various businesses located here flourishing and growing.”

Blyth Workspace was developed by Arch, the Northumberland development company. The facilities at the site include super-fast broadband, rapid electric car charging points and five years’ free business rates, as the site is located within the North East’s Enterprise Zone.

Jeremy Middleton added: “The development of Blyth Workspace has rejuvenated the site, which was previously vacant. It now provides a high quality base for business and has immense potential to enhance the area’s reputation as a centre of excellence for energy and research.”

More details on the North East Investment Fund and how to apply can be found here.

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Final tenants move into North Tyneside Business Park

The final tenants have moved into their new premises at West Chirton North Industrial Estate in North Tyneside, meaning that the site, which was supported with a £460,000 loan from the North East Investment Fund, is now fully occupied.

The completion of Larch Court, West Chirton has resulted in the creation and safeguarding of jobs while the site itself has provided space for a range of growing companies including three new start-ups. The project also supported more than 100 construction jobs during its building phase and now supports multiple jobs in the companies located on the estate.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith is Chief Executive of the site developer, the Hellens Group.

“Larch Court was the first speculative industrial development in North Tyneside since the credit crunch. The development had been stalled for a number of years and even though Hellens have a proven track record for delivering employment space we had been unable to progress our plans due to a lack of finance available to SME businesses in the current economic climate,” said Gavin.

“Whilst we obtained a grant from the European Regional Development Fund, the development was only able to proceed due to the loan we received from the North East LEP. We are delighted to have fully let the units within 18 months of completion and to have helped create and support jobs for a number of SME businesses in the process. The lettings have enabled us to pay back the loan to the North East LEP who we understand will be able to recycle the funds in order to benefit another project.”

Work began on the business park in November 2013 and the 17 units, which provide 34,000 square feet of business accommodation close to the A19 and just North of the Tyne Tunnel, were completed in July 2014.

Businesses which have taken up residence at West Chirton include a printing company, an engineering firm and a construction company.

The West Chirton development was supported by the North East Investment Fund – a capital loan fund which is available to support projects in the North East which will encourage local economic growth and create new jobs in the region. The fund is managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Jeremy Middleton, Chair of the North East LEP Investment Panel, said: “This project, now completed, is supporting a number of growing business here in the North East and is a fantastic example of a successful venture which benefits the region’s economy.

“The North East Investment Fund exists to help kick-start projects like this which need support at the outset but have great potential to create and safeguard jobs or strengthen the region’s transport, infrastructure and connectivity.”

More details on the North East Investment Fund and how to apply.

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Investing in the North East economy

Jeremy Middleton is a North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board Member and serves as Chair of the North East LEP’s Investment Panel. Here, Jeremy talks about the North East Investment Fund and how it has the potential to give a real boost to the region’s economy.

What is the North East Investment Fund?

Quite simply, the North East Investment Fund is a capital loan fund which is available to support projects in the North East which will encourage local economic growth and create new jobs in the region. The fund is worth £55m in total and is made up of £30m from the Regional Growth Fund and £25m from the Growing Places Fund.

Loans can vary in duration from two to 20 years and it’s an evergreen fund, so once funded projects are completed and their loans are repaid, the money is re-invested into the fund and made available to support new schemes. We made this strategic decision to reject the culture of grants and dependency, instead choosing to award loans which can be recycled.

Can you tell us what the fund has achieved so far?

The North East Investment Fund has already supported some fantastic ventures and is well on the way to exceeding its goal of creating at least 2,300 new jobs across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.

One of the first developments to be allocated money was the Stephenson Quarter development in Newcastle, swiftly followed by a number of projects in Washington, central Sunderland, Chester-le-Street and on the banks of the Tyne in North Tyneside that are all now going ahead thanks to investment from the fund.

The University of Durham’s ambitious plans to develop an Centre for Innovation and Enterprise has also been supported by the Investment Fund and this is another great example of a development which itself with create more opportunities for growth. We’ve also supported the Blyth Workspace development in Northumberland and the West Chirton business park, amongst others.

The flexibility of the fund means it’s been able to support a wide range of projects in both the public and private sector.

Who can apply?

Applications to the North East Investment Fund are evaluated against a number of key criteria. Firstly, strategic economic fit – will the project help to strengthen the local economy or will it benefit transport, connectivity or infrastructure? We also consider deliverability: will projects be completed on time and are the goals achievable?

Applicants are asked to outline how and when they will repay the loan and we also look at how bids will help to create or safeguard jobs, private sector investment or brownfield land development here in the North East.

Ultimately, the fund is there to help support the North East LEP’s goal of creating new and better jobs for the region and achieving the economic potential of the region.

How is the funding allocated?

The fund is managed by the North East LEP, which was behind the successful bids to the third round of the Regional Growth Fund.

The North East LEP’s Investment Panel is a group which includes members of the North East LEP Board and people from the business community, and the group meets regularly to review new applications to the fund.

What’s next for the North East Investment Fund?

We’re inviting more organisations to apply, via the North East LEP, for loans from the North East Investment Fund. The money is available to help kick start projects that lack the initial finance to get off the ground but that have great potential to benefit the North East economy and that are able to realistically repay the initial investment, making it available to support yet more schemes in the future.

I strongly encourage people to take a look at the opportunities which are available through the North East Investment Fund and to consider how it can be used to make real improvements to the North East economy.

Find out more about the North East Investment Fund