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Darlington Business Week in 2018

Darlington Business Week in 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Following the first Darlington Business Week in 2017, Darlington Borough Council are delighted to welcome you to the 2018 Darlington Business Week. 

Many of the events have been programmed around supporting business growth and will highlight the vast array of national and international initiatives available in Darlington and the Tees Valley.

The week also contains a number of events with a more social theme - understanding the value of networking in a variety of informal locations including the prestigious Rockliffe Hall and the recently renovated Blackwell Grange – showcasing the significant investment taking place across our borough in our visitor destination offer but also the changing shape of our townscape. 

The Northern Echo Arena has also be added to our list of venues – home of Darlington Business Club – and you see a real range of events taking place including the first ever ‘Networking and NERF Wars’ taking place in the Tees Valley being organised by Tees Valley Compass.

Key events to look out for include the launch of the week at Darlington Business Summit – taking place at Teesside University’s Darlington Campus, the NEECC Chamber Exchange and the Finance & Grants for Growth event where we will welcome a number of business support partners including representatives from the British Business Bank.

From expert advice on business growth through to networking and mentoring – and a recruitment fair - this packed programme is free to all and businesses can sign up for as many activities as they wish.

To register and book your space at one of the many events, simply log onto www.investindarlington.co.uk/events or contact the Invest in Darlington team on 01325 406305.

Ground breaking work starts on Darlington's 94-acre Symmetry Park

Ground breaking work starts on Darlington's 94-acre Symmetry Park

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Work has now started on Darlington's latest business park - the 94-acre Symmetry Park

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held to mark work starting on a new business park on the outskirts of Darlington town centre.

The 94-acre Symmetry Park site on the East side of Darlington, will include more than 1.6 million sq ft of employment space.

Tritax Big Box has exchanged contracts for the development of a new logistics centre and Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon and Ian Williams, Director for Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services took part in the ceremony alongside Andrew Dickman, director at DB Symmetry.

Mr Dickman said, “There have been many months of collaboration with the local authority and stakeholders to create a scheme that will address the chronic shortage of modern logistics space to create tangible economic benefits to the region."

IAS Medical flying high with financial support

IAS Medical flying high with financial support

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A successful Darlington air ambulance company is aiming to spread its wings with the help of £350,000 investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

A successful Darlington air ambulance company is aiming to spread its wings with the help of investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

IAS Medical provides state-of-the-art global air ambulance patient repatriation services as well as providing air and ground support to the NHS transplant community and has a long-standing relationship with the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, regularly flying Specialist Transplant Surgical Teams and carrying time-critical organs for transplant.

The Darlington-headquartered firm has two aircraft based at Durham Tees Valley Airport, as well as a third at East Midlands Airport.

IAS Medical has now worked with fund management firm FW Capital to secure a £350,000 NPIF investment as part of implementing plans to further increase its global footprint and operational capacity.

IAS Medical’s current 35-strong team is expected to increase, with the company’s continued growth and expansion requiring the employment of additional aircrew, control room operations staff and administration support personnel.

In addition to its aircraft, IAS Medical has a fleet of six specialist Paediatric ambulances and is teamed with NECTAR, the North East Children's Transport and Retrieval Service to rapidly transport critically ill children to a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Mark Dodd, marketing manager at IAS Medical, says: “We have a well-established and respected brand that’s successfully working in a very specialised sector, and we have the experience, market knowledge and ambition to extend both what we do and where we work.

"The further operational development, continued growth and expansion of IAS Medical will undoubtedly contribute to the creation of new employment opportunities in the Tees Valley and further afield.

"FW Capital's position in the region was important to us when we explored the options for generating development capital and the FW Capital team provided excellent support to secure the investment.

Keith Barnes, investment executive at FW Capital, said: "IAS Medical has a strong track record stretching back over a decade and the management team's plans for further extending its operations are extremely impressive."

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “IAS is a growing business that provides expert air ambulance services to a number of leading health organisations including the NHS, BUPA and the UK government. We are delighted that NPIF is supporting another Tees Valley company and having a positive impact creating jobs in the North of England.”

For more information on how Darlington businesses can access business support and grants for growth, contact the Invest in Darlington team on 01325 406305.

Huge warehousing letting at Lingfield Point in Darlington

Huge warehousing letting at Lingfield Point in Darlington

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A new warehousing deal has seen 132,000 sqft of space taken at Lingfield Point.

The three year agreement with Premofab brings another new customer to one of Darlington's largest business parks and the business will use the space for storage and will join the 60+ businesses now based at the site and follows the 76,000sqft letting to Magnet.  

Lingfield Point is part of the strategic Eastern Growth zone of Darlington covering 583 acres of employment land and provides the perfect location for growth with great accessibility to the national transport network - whether road, rail, sea or air. Darlington has a diverse range of sites available that are capable of providing large scale warehouses with high bays, clear spans and dock loading facilities with industrial rents lower than the national average.

For more information on site and land availability across Darlington, please contact the Invest in Darlington team on 01325 406305 or click on the following link http://www.investindarlington.co.uk/growth-zones/eastern-growth-zone/

 Plans for new town centre office development to go on show

Plans for new town centre office development to go on show

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Darlington residents and businesses are invited to have their say on proposals for a new office development on the site of the former Beaumont Street East car park.

Darlington residents and businesses are invited to have their say on proposals for a new office development on the site of the former Beaumont Street East car park.

The proposed new offices, known as Feethams House, would provide Grade A accommodation over five storeys to satisfy future demand for prime offices space in the town centre.

Councillor Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “With a contemporary design and new landscaping and public realm, this development will be a significant regeneration scheme for the town.

“I’d encourage residents and business owners in the town to come along, find out more and have their say.”

Drop in sessions will take place in the reception area of the Dolphin Centre on Tuesday 8 May between 1pm and 5pm. Plans for the development will be on show and the designers will be on hand to answer any questions.

For those who cannot make the drop-in session, the proposals for the office block can be viewed online at www.darlington.gov.uk/feethamshouse/

All comments must be received by Sunday 20 May and will be considered by the council and designers as they finalise the scheme. The final plans will then be submitted as a formal planning application.

Please send any comments to capital.projectsoffice@darlington.gov.uk or by post to Head of Capital Projects and Design, 17 Allington Way, Darlington, DL1 4QB

Continued development of Darlington's logistics offer announced

Continued development of Darlington's logistics offer announced

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

New business park could create 3,000 jobs on the East side of Darlington

Darlington have announced plans for the build of a new business park on the East side of the Borough – adding value to the town’s reputation as an industrial and logistics hub for the North East.

Plans have been submitted for the build of a new business park, known as Symmetry Park, on land to the east of Lingfield Point, which Darlington Borough Council say has the potential to create 3,000 jobs.

The business park, which will cover in excess of 94 acres, will feature more than 1.6 million sqft of employment space - the equivalent of around 25 football pitches.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman described the development as a “game changer” for the area, whilst Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon said the announcement proved the town was “open for business”.

Plans for a bus terminus, a 60-bed hotel and space for a pub and restaurant are also included for the business park, which will be accessed via an entrance point from Darlington’s eastern transport corridor. There will be enough space across the site to park 900 cars, 130 HGVs, 40 motorcycles and 100 bicycles.

Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said that the proposed new development was “absolutely fantastic news” for Darlington in coverage in the Northern Echo.

“This is hugely significant for Darlington – the jobs created will be high value jobs," he said.

“The jobs will go to local people – the size of the workforce means that is absolutely guaranteed.

Ms Chapman added: “It is good to see investors recognise Darlington as a great location to set up their business. This is a substantial development on a vacant site that has the capacity of providing thousands of jobs for local people - it has the potential to be a game changer for Darlington.

“Darlington is brilliantly located on the A1 and east coast mainline - it is a fantastic place to live and work.”

Cllr Dixon added: “We have already got long established businesses in the town, fantastic road and rail links, and it will be particularly good for the young people in Darlington.

Planning documents submitted about the development state: “Fundamentally, the proposal will result in significant investment in Morton Park and encourage sustainable economic growth in Darlington.

“It is considered that the proposed development could act as a stimulus to the local economy, creating significant new employment and associated economic benefit."

Simon Dixon, development director at DB symmetry, said: “There is a chronic shortage of high quality, strategically located storage and distribution schemes available in the North East.

"We will be liaising closely with all stakeholders to implement a masterplan which will sit well within the area."

The strategic Eastern Growth zone of Darlington covers 583 acres of employment land and provides businesses with the perfect location for growth – for more information on site availability across Darlington, please contact the Invest in Darlington team on 01325 406305 or click on the following link http://www.investindarlington.co.uk/growth-zones/eastern-growth-zone/

For original article, reproduced thanks to the Northern Echo, please click: here: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/16068334.New_business_park_could_create_3_000_jobs_and_bring_international_retailer_to_Darlington/

National Horizons Centre will drive economic growth in STEM industries

National Horizons Centre will drive economic growth in STEM industries

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth has formally launched construction work on a new £22.3 million research, teaching and training facility set to drive growth in the regional and national bioscience industries.

The National Horizons Centre, which is being built by Wates Construction on behalf of Teesside University at Central Park in Darlington, will concentrate on developing the technical, innovation and management skills and knowledge needed for the sector to continue to grow and generate jobs and wealth in Tees Valley and the UK.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry joined Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Paul Croney to mark the start of the build programme, due to be completed in spring 2019.

The National Horizons Centre is being established to support the bioscience sector, which includes biologics, biomedical sciences, industrial biotechnology and digital.  It will play a key part in driving STEM skills and economic growth in the Tees Valley, through industry-focused education and training and collaborative research and innovation.

It has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund, via the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and the European Regional Development Fund.  The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the single biggest investment by the fund in the Tees Valley.

The centre will house academics and business development staff from Teesside University, working in partnership with regional, national and international industry partners, including the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Fujifilm Diosynth, to provide specialist education and training for the current and future workforce, and to promote industry-focused innovation and research.

Its imaginative design includes an exciting blend of teaching, learning and collaboration spaces, together with hi-tech laboratories and a state-of-the-art computing suite.

Together with CPI’s adjacent National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development (CPED), the centre will be at the heart of a cluster of excellence on Darlington’s Central Park.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “I was delighted to be here celebrating the start of the build of the National Horizons Centre today, which has received £17.5m government investment.

“This is the Northern Powerhouse in action because this Centre will not only be of regional importance but will be a nationally significant asset too.

“It will train our young people to become the scientists of the future and continue to drive forward the Tees Valley as a leader in research, science and innovation in the UK and the world.”

The £22.3 million investment in the National Horizons Centre is part of Teesside University’s ambitious campus masterplan, which will see £300 million spent over the next 10 years in transforming its estate to continue to provide an outstanding student and learning experience.

Professor Croney said: “The National Horizons Centre is the result of significant work with industry and our partners, to identify how best the bioscience sector can reach its full potential through provision of the right education, training and collaborative innovation. 

“A key priority of Teesside University is to help drive the knowledge economy, by growing the high-level skills base, building partnerships with industry and the professions, and creating graduates with the knowledge, aptitude and mindset to add real value to business.

“Our investment in The National Horizons Centre is an example of this in action. It will play a vital role, providing first-class facilities and programmes to grow knowledge and research in sectors that are set to transform the UK economy.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is the single biggest investment we have made so far. The new National Horizons Centre will be a beacon of all we are good at here in the Tees Valley.

“Our rich history of innovation, research and development is set to continue thanks to this state-of-the-art facility in Darlington. I’m pleased the Northern Powerhouse Minister has come up today to launch this exciting project.

“The new economy will be built on biologics and digital - key sectors we need to support. This massive £17.5million commitment is testament to the importance we have placed on securing jobs for the future.

“Helping Teesside University to achieve academic excellence is a major strand of my wider education and training plans. I look forward to continuing to work with the university and its partners as they deliver the high-quality skills training needed to build a Tees Valley fit for the future.”

Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “Darlington Central Park is one of our flagship developments, where business, residential and learning sit side by side.

“We are particularly excited to see the National Horizons Centre complement the National Biologics Centre and our own Business Central, which both opened in 2014, to create a place where science and innovation can flourish.

“STEM skills are top of the agenda and this first class facility will give our young people fantastic training opportunities in the future.”

Paul Dodsworth, Business Unit Director for Wates Construction Yorkshire and North East, commented: “As a national company with a Darlington office, we welcome this huge investment in the local area, and we are honoured that Wates is to play such a pivotal role in this landmark project for both the Tees Valley region and the bioscience sector across the UK. Our excellent North East team is in place to deliver the National Horizons Centre, and we look forward to working closely with our partners on what is set to be a fascinating project for all involved.”

Kirsty Thirwell, Chief Executive at Aura, who are providing quantity surveying services on the project, said: “Aura has successfully supported the University on a number of projects over the last five years and we are delighted to have been chosen to work with them on such a prestigious initiative as the National Horizons Centre.”

Growing plumbing firm benefits from council support

Growing plumbing firm benefits from council support

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A plumbing supplies company that has seen sales increase by 46% in a year is hoping for further success after securing a new site.

JTM Plumbing, an online business which sells thousands of products each month, has bought a 2.2acre plot of land from Darlington Borough Council on Faverdale Industrial Estate.

Managing director Jason Mulroy said he hopes to increase his product range, boost the £6.5m annual turnover and add to his 24 staff once the new units are up and running.

Mr Mulroy was aided in his search for a larger site by the council’s Invest in Darlington team, who he approached after struggling to find a unit that suited his needs in the town.

“I didn’t want to move elsewhere, or make my staff commute, so I came to the council to ask how I could keep my business in Darlington,” he said.

“Within a week they were showing me land the council has available in Faverdale to buy. The site gives us scope to grow without having to keep moving."

Mr Mulroy set up his company, which supplies pipe and fittings across the UK and internationally, in 2009 as a sideline from his home while working as a plumber on building sites.

The business has outgrown each of the units it has used so far and he said without support from the council to find a larger site he might have been forced to move his business out of the town.

The Invest in Darlington team also put him in touch with the Tees Valley Business Support Scheme and, with help from accountants Anderson Barrowcliff, Mr Mulroy was able to secure a capital grant of £100,000 towards the costs of building the first of four possible units on the site.

Tees Valley Business Support’s Capital Grant scheme is funded by the SSI Task Force which was set up after the closure of the Redcar steelworks.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “It’s great to hear success stories like JTM Plumbing and even better when the council has a role in supporting their growth.

“I’d encourage other businesses in the borough that might be looking for help and advice to take the next step to get in touch with the Invest in Darlington team.”

Invest in Darlington, the council’s business support team, can assist businesses of all sizes, or someone looking to set up a business, with help in looking for new premises, accessing funding or grants or finding specialist support.

For more information call Invest in Darlington manager Mark Carrigan on 01325 406298 or email mark.carrigan@darlington.gov.uk


Road naming ceremony puts Tornado on the Darlington map

Road naming ceremony puts Tornado on the Darlington map

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Tornado, the iconic steam locomotive built in Darlington, has been honoured in a public vote to choose a new name for a major commuter road.

The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor will now be known as Tornado Way after it scooped almost 50% of the votes in a social media poll.

The new name was unveiled today (Thursday 8 February) by Paul Bruce and Graeme Bunker-James of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Local Environment.

Tornado Way was first opened to motorists in 2007, linking the A66 with Darlington town centre and providing a reprieve for congested Haughton Road.

The road has opened up many acres of land for development and can be credited with boosting housing development, employment and education facilities in Lingfield Point and Central Park.

Councillor Wallis said: “Darlington is rightly proud to be the birthplace of Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in the UK for more than 50 years.

“We are delighted to name this road in its honour and excited about what the future may hold.

“Tornado Way has already unlocked a huge amount of positive development for the eastern side of Darlington, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of new homes, and there is still more to come.”

Graeme Bunker-James, Operations Director at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, added: “This just shows how much the history of railway means to the people of Darlington.

"We’re delighted that No. 60163 Tornado has been invited to be as much a part of the town’s future as its past.”

Darlington based Modus Seabed Intervention is trialling "world first" marine equipment it believes could save wind farm operators more than £1bn

Darlington based Modus Seabed Intervention is trialling "world first" marine equipment it believes could save wind farm operators more than £1bn

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Modus Seabed Intervention is testing a robotic underwater docking station.

Bosses at the Darlington-based firm say the berthing base offers the potential for subsea units to remain at offshore wind farms without the need for support vessels.

They added that as increasing numbers of companies use autonomous underwater craft to perform survey and inspection work, the docking station could save at least £1.1bn in operational costs over the next 25 years and reduce the need for staff to work in hazardous environments.

According to Jake Tompkins, Modus managing director and project lead, his business’ trial apparatus, described as a world first and delivered in partnership with Northumberland engineer Osbit, has been designed to allow vehicles to re-charge and download mission commands.

He revealed testing will be carried out at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Northumberland, while Innogy has also agreed to commercial trials on its Gwynt y Môr farm, off the Welsh coast.

The move comes a year after The Northern Echo reported Modus had tested an unmanned hybrid sub-aqua craft, and Mr Tompkins said he was delighted the firm had reached its latest stage.

He said: “We have been focusing on the development of hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle systems to be deployed for seabed survey and inspection.

“Part of our vision is to see them becoming field resident, offering significant cost savings and quality benefits to the markets and our customers.”

Andrew Kay, of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, praised the project, saying it has the potential to make a real difference to the subsea energy sector.

He added: “Current crewed seabed surveys and inspections carried out using hullmounted equipment and support vessels are time consuming, expensive and often heavily weather dependent.

“But the system being developing with Modus and Osbit will be fully self-sufficient, reducing operational and maintenance costs, and levels of personnel required.”

Back in 2015, The Northern Echo reported how Modus had secured a deal to scour the Merseyside coastline for unexploded Second World War bombs.

The company picked up a contract from Dong Energy to search for wartime explosives to help prepare the site for its Burbo Bank Extension wind farm.

Liverpool was bombed heavily during the conflict, with its port a particular target for German planes.