Across the North East, work is underway to transform land into top quality locations for businesses and bring more skilled jobs to the region. Ben McLaughlin, Programme Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), explains how.
Since 2013, more than 1,600 jobs have been created in the North East, and it’s estimated that 2,400 more will be added over the next two years, thanks to investment by the North East LEP and partners in the region’s network of Enterprise Zone sites.
Over £166 million is expected to be invested by the North East LEP in these high quality development sites by 2025, in order to support the creation of more and better jobs in key sectors for the North East, including the automotive industry, offshore and subsea, and the energy sector.
Enterprise Zones are previously under-utilised sites which are made ready for businesses by investing in key infrastructure such as road links, utilities and digital connectivity – getting them investment-ready so to speak. They’re situated in some of the most desirable locations in our region, with excellent access to transport links, quayside locations, and proximity to ready-made supply chains which mean that investors can hit the ground running.
Here in the North East, we have more than 300 hectares of land that’s earmarked as Enterprise Zones and since 2013, we’ve seen these sites take shape, and businesses start to reap the benefits of moving into first-class office spaces and manufacturing sites.
The locations of our Enterprise Zones are also closely aligned to some of the areas of strategic importance which are named in the North East Strategic Economic Plan, including the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors.
In Sunderland for example, the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is located north of the Nissan manufacturing plant, and provides a world-class, shovel-ready site for advanced manufacturing businesses. Follingsby Park North in Gateshead and Jade Business Park in Durham have also recently become home to manufacturing companies.
Around the banks of the River Tyne, the Neptune Energy Park in Newcastle has attracted a group of businesses operating in the subsea and offshore sectors, and the Holborn 2 in the Port of Tyne will soon be home to operations and maintenance activities for the Dogger Bank offshore development. Similarly, around the Blyth Estuary, Enterprise Zone sites at the Port of Blyth Bates Terminal and at Northumberland Energy Park will provide ideal space for emerging opportunities in the offshore and subsea sectors.
The Enterprise Zones have also supported high quality office developments close to Newcastle Airport, in the centre of Blyth and at the Centre for Innovation (CFI) building on the former Swan Hunters site in North Tyneside. There are further plans for more office space to be created on sites such as Holborn in South Tyneside.
Not only will jobs be created as businesses move into the new Enterprise Zones sites, but hundreds of people have already been employed in the construction industry, putting in the required buildings and infrastructure, readying the sites for their new tenants.
These sites are playing a critical role in supporting the North East’s economic growth, and they’re also bringing back to life former industrial areas, like power stations and shipyards; making them ready for today’s businesses and tomorrow’s innovators.
Find out more about the North East’s Enterprise Zones here.