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Growing Places Fund Revives Business Park Scheme in Washington

A £1.2m scheme to transform a brownfield site in Washington into a thriving business park, creating 112 jobs, has been revived after securing a cash injection from the Growing Places Fund.

Teal Farm Park initially secured planning consent in 2007, and the first phase of the project was completed shortly afterwards. However, due to the recession, further development of the site had to be shelved.

Now, the speculative development is set to be completed after its developer, land and property regeneration specialist Hellens Group, won £200,000 backing from the multi-million pound Growing Places Fund, managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Teal Farm Park, which is being developed on derelict former industrial land in Washington, has already created 124 jobs through its first phase, and a further 112 are expected to be created once the scheme completes. Once finished, there will be two ‘terraces’ of industrial units on the site, and construction of the second terrace is expected to begin in June.

Washington-based Hellens Group turned to the government’s Growing Places Fund after being refused funding by banks to complete the project, despite fully letting the first phase of Teal Farm Park within two years. The Growing Places Fund, managed by the North East LEP offers loans to kick start the growth of infrastructure, housing and economic development schemes which have stalled in the economic climate. The evergreen fund reinvests loans to help further projects.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive of the Hellens Group, said: “Teal Farm Park will be a very important site for Washington, and is one of the first speculative industrial developments in the whole of the North East since the credit crunch. It will be significant in terms of attracting new businesses to the town, and also for the employment and investment that accompanies that.

“We are very grateful to the Growing Places Fund and the North East LEP for making it possible for us to go ahead with the second phase. Despite successfully constructing and letting the first phase, the banks refused to give us any funding, meaning that, being an SME ourselves, we were unable to complete the project. Now, we look forward to the completion of the site, and the benefits to Washington and the region that will bring.”

Jeremy Middleton, chair of the North East LEP’s investment panel, said: “The Growing Places fund was established to help create new jobs and economic growth by unlocking the potential of projects which stalled due to the economic climate.

“Teal Farm Park is exactly the sort of development which we are able to support, and I am very pleased that the fund has enabled the Hellens Group to look towards its completion. The first phase has had a very positive impact on the local economy, and I am confident the completed development will thrive.”

For more information contact Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.