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Leader's in-principle support for airport plans

Leader's in-principle support for airport plans

Friday, January 18, 2019

Councillor Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, has revealed his intentions in relation to the upcoming vote at the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet on 24 January.

Councillor Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, has revealed his intentions in relation to the upcoming vote at the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet on 24 January.

He said: “When the Mayor first put forward his sketchy outline to buy the airport a couple of months ago, I was asked for my views.

“I said, quite categorically, at the time, that I would love to see a successful local airport. But, at that time the Mayor gave no further details – no details of how much public money was to be spent, no business case, no details of risk – so I couldn’t say whether the plan could be supported. This is public money – it is only right and proper that I have sight of the full facts before making a decision.

“Over several weeks I, along with the other Tees Valley Leaders, have been asking the Mayor for documentation that details the plan. Only in the past week has sufficient documentation finally been released.

“I am now clearer about what’s being proposed, what it is likely to cost, what risks there are, and crucially what’s intended with regards to actual flights.

“I am satisfied that the economic case for purchasing the airport is worth the level of investment and risk. Everyone does need to know that this is still not without risk, and that further investment will certainly be needed for years to come. While the airport can bring economic and employment benefits, and hopefully greater options for leisure, the airport itself will still need financial support.

“Various long term scenarios are highlighted in the Mayor’s plan for the airport. Naturally, I hope the more ambitious of those come about. But nothing is guaranteed.

“So yes, I will be supporting the airport proposals. There is risk, but on balance the potential benefits outweigh those risks. Let’s wish the airport success.

“Finally, let’s not forget at next week’s Cabinet the airport is only one part Investment Plan that is discussed. There are many more schemes being proposed – supporting better transport across the Tess Valley, supporting new businesses, investing in education and training to name a few. It would be good to talk about those too – but perhaps another day.”

Making Darlington a living and working town centre

Making Darlington a living and working town centre

Monday, December 31, 2018

Early ideas on plans and proposals to revitalise Darlington’s town centre through targeted investment in key areas are to be discussed by cabinet members. The Strategic Sites Development Programme for Darlington town centre will examine how the changing needs of the High Street can be accommodated and helped to succeed in the coming months and years.

Early ideas on plans and proposals to revitalise Darlington’s town centre through targeted investment in key areas are to be discussed by cabinet members.

The Strategic Sites Development Programme for Darlington town centre will examine how the changing needs of the High Street can be accommodated and helped to succeed in the coming months and years.

Initial proposals see a mix of retail, leisure, business and residential uses in a more compact town centre.

The report will be discussed by cabinet members on 8 January.

Four areas in the town centre have been earmarked as strategically important:

  • The Victorian Indoor Market – a unique attraction for Darlington, a refurbished and refreshed Indoor Market will be a key anchor for quality retail and fresh food offer.
     
  • Skinnergate – provides opportunities for mixed use retail and residential use which will increase footfall and make the area more vibrant
     
  • Northgate – the loss of M&S was a blow to this part of town – mixed use developments, including residential, may be considered to bring this area back to life
     
  • Crown Street – an area mostly in private ownership, officers are working with property owners to understand their aspirations and look at what can be achieved. Any work in this area will complement the council’s commitment to refurbish Crown Street library, likely to take place in 2019/20.

Councillor Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “The retail landscape has been changing across the country for several years but this year has seen some seismic shifts, particularly in the role of anchor department stores in town centre.

“Darlington hasn’t been immune to this but we still have a high proportion of national retailers and a strong independent sector, complemented by our leisure offer which was boosted by the Feethams development.

“We’re taking a holistic approach to the future of the town centre and looking at how we can secure Government funding, as well as working alongside private investors, to future-proof our town centre.

“The town centre is vital not only to our economy but also to our sense of community and well-being as a town.”

If the report is agreed by cabinet members, a period of consultation and community engagement will take place on the individual proposals as they develop further.

Funding for any work will be subject to the type of scheme that is decided on, the availability of Government funding and commitments from private investors, as well as the council’s own budgets.

Early feasibility work referred to in the report is being funded through the Government’s Estate Regeneration Fund and the council’s advanced design fees budget.

Work set to get underway on Ingenium Parc industrial site

Work set to get underway on Ingenium Parc industrial site

Monday, December 10, 2018

The first phase of development work on a new industrial site that aims to create more than 2,000 jobs in the coming years is set to get underway. Ingenium Parc, a 40-hectare site on Salters Lane, off Yarm Road, Darlington, is a £5m project funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

The first phase of development work on a new industrial site that aims to create more than 2,000 jobs in the coming years is set to get underway.

Ingenium Parc, a 40-hectare site on Salters Lane, off Yarm Road, Darlington, is a £5m project funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

The leader of Darlington Borough Council, Stephen Harker, was joined at the site by Cllr Chris McEwan, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for economy and regeneration, to officially mark the beginning of the first phase of development work.

The first phase of the projects includes highways improvements, a new access road, utilities and ecological work across the site.

  • To open up access to the site, works are being carried out on the Yarm Road/McMullen Road roundabout which will provide two lanes on each approach to the roundabout, and around the roundabout. There will also be new footpath and cycle path links in the area.

 

  • A new road into the site and on-site utilities will also be built and installed to allow development of the first 11.5 hectares, with the aim of creating up to 1,000 jobs by 2021.
     
  • Extensive work has already been carried out on site to protect its ecological biodiversity. Officers have worked closely with Natural England to mitigate any loss and to enhance the natural habitats on the site and the adjacent nature reserve.

Councillor Harker, leader of the council, said: “Ingenium Parc will create high-quality industrial employment opportunities for the next generation – it will be an excellent addition to support Darlington’s growing economy.

“The site is well placed for access to the motorway network and will provide opportunities for our skilled workforce.

“We’re well aware of the importance of the site for its biodiversity and we’ve gone to great lengths to mitigate against any impact. The masterplan for the development includes enhanced habitats and green infrastructure to ensure that industry sits seamlessly alongside nature.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted yet another project we’ve helped fund has seen spades in the ground this year.

“Companies looking to make the Tees Valley their home, and also our successful growing businesses, are crying out for the sort of high-quality industrial space Ingenium Parc will provide.

“This will be another string to Darlington’s bow, giving brilliant opportunities for even more inward investment, job creation and economic growth, not just for the town, but for the wider Tees Valley.”

Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said:  “This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building a country that works for everyone. We have a great example here in Tees Valley of how Ben Houchen is championing that growth.

“Our £3.9 million investment in the Ingenium Parc industrial site is a great example of our modern Industrial Strategy and the work that is taking place across Tees Valley, to regenerate the area and encourage Clean Growth. The project will enhance the site’s biodiversity, attract businesses to the area and create more than 2000 jobs - making Darlington a better place to live, work and do business.”

The first development plots will be available from 2019/20 - businesses/investors interested in the site should contact the council’s business investment team on 01325 406305.

 

Vision revealed at £100M logistics park - Symmetry Park

Vision revealed at £100M logistics park - Symmetry Park

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

National logistics developer, db symmetry, in partnership with Durham Cathedral, has exclusively unveiled how its new 2.1 million sq ft development in Darlington

will look when completed, bringing a major economic asset to the region.

The reveal comes as construction for Symmetry Park Darlington gathers pace with the steelwork already completed for the first phase of the £100 million logistics and distribution hub.   ISG Construction is main contractor for the 1.5 million sq ft building which is already pre-let on a 20-year lease to a world leading online retailer. The development is being funded by TRITAX Big Box REIT.

Symmetry Park, Darlington is a 90-acre site located on the A66, seven miles from Junction 57 of the A1 motorway and 20 miles from Tees Port.  Since acquiring the site last November db symmetry has secured planning consent for over 1.6 million sq ft of B1, B2 and B8 uses and intends to gain outline consent for a further 500,000 sq ft on the remaining 37 acres.

Last week db symmetry hosted an event in Newcastle to officially launch the scheme to North East agents representing the potential occupier market with a strong marketing drive to showcase the key attributes of the site in terms of specification and location.   With the potential to create around 3,500 new jobs and contribute £180 million to the regional economy Symmetry Park Darlington is a significant new asset for regional and national investment.

Speaking at the event, Andrew Dickman, Director at db symmetry said, “We are pleased to formally bring Symmetry Park Darlington to market as an exceptionally strong proposition to those seeking a base in the North East.  Having already pre-let a significant proportion of the site to a high calibre operator, we are in a strong position with funding in place and full site infrastructure construction underway.  We can offer bespoke design and build options from 50,000 sq ft to 500,000 sq ft and potential for roadside amenities in the form of a hotel, a petrol filling station, drive through, restaurants and offices.

Andrew Gent of Gent Visick said, “Symmetry Park, Darlington has secured one of the most significant investments in the north east in recent times. The key driver for this investment being the availability of labour and the excellent road communications. The development can still offer an occupier a large-scale single footprint unit or can be built out in a series of smaller units from 50,000 sq ft.”

For more information on space available at Symmetry Park and how Darlington can support your business, contact the Business Investment and Growth team on 01325 406305.

Darlington Business Week Success

Darlington Business Week Success

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hundreds of local and regional businesses came along to the second annual Darlington Business Week,

 held across a range of venues in the town last month, arranged by the council’s business support team.

Networking breakfasts and workshops were on the cards as business owners and representatives took advantage of 16 free events that offered the chance to meet fellow business people and find out how they can access what’s on offer to help them grow and develop their company.

Highlights included a Business Summit, which saw business leaders and public figures get together to find out more about how, and where, more than 7,000 jobs will be created in Darlington over the next 18 years. The event also included research into how the borough can grow its professional, business and financial services sectors.

Advice on accessing grants, raising finance, legal issues, social media, marketing, financial planning and digital services were all on offer throughout the week. A wide range of partner organisations contributed, including the North East England Chamber of Commerce, Darlington Business Club and the Tees Engineering Network to ensure that as many sectors as possible were represented.

Charlotte Nicols, owner of Harvey & Hugo PR, a partner in Darlington Business Week said: “We were delighted to get involved in Darlington Business Week by both hosting two events and attending plenty of others. It’s wonderful that the town puts on such a week to support businesses and it was great to see the positive response from companies both in and outside of Darlington. I’m excited for what next year will bring as it keeps on getting bigger and better.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen presented a Business Growth and Funding event, where he shared details of the funding opportunities across the Tees Valley region through devolution money from central Government. The week was rounded off with a community litter pick, pie and a pint event hosted by Darlington Cares and sponsored by the Hole in the Wall pub.

Calder’s Kitchen owner Andrew Calder said: “I found the Going For Growth event really useful. As a small business that is rapidly growing, understanding where to find help and good advice about funding can be a minefield. It’s reassuring to know that there is a lot of support and good advice on our doorstep, here in Darlington. We’ll be sure to take advantage of this and work with the contacts we made on the night moving forward.”

One of the most popular events of the week was the Jobs Fair, held in the Dolphin Centre, which saw hundreds of people given the opportunity to meet prospective employers, hand in CVs and access support to develop their interviewing and CV writing skills.

Mark Carrigan, the council’s business investment manager, said: “The week was a great success with a fantastic exchange of ideas, advice, support and knowledge. Many thanks to our partners who hosted events and who helped make the week possible.

“There is a huge amount of support and advice available to businesses of all sizes, but finding a way through the maze of forms and regulations can be confusing and time consuming. Luckily, our team is on hand to help applicants find a way through to access the help on offer – practical as well as financial. All it takes is a call or an email and we’ll be there to help.”

Business support and advice is available through the year from the council’s business support team. Call 406305 or email business.support@darlington.gov.uk

Finance for Growth at Darlington Business Week

Finance for Growth at Darlington Business Week

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

ACCESSING grants and funding to enable local businesses to grow and develop will be the hot topic at an event on Thursday 11 October, from 3.30-6pm at Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington. Going for Business Growth – Grants and Finance, forms part of the second ever Darlington Business Week from Monday 8 – Friday 12 October. Hundreds of local business people have already signed up for a range of events and networking opportunities including a Business Summit Breakfast, Nerf Networking event, and a procurement workshop to help businesses learn how to tender for public sector contracts.

ACCESSING grants and funding to enable local businesses to grow and develop will be the hot topic at an event on Thursday 11 October, from 3.30-6pm at Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington.

Going for Business Growth – Grants and Finance, forms part of the second ever Darlington Business Week from Monday 8 – Friday 12 October. Hundreds of local business people have already signed up for a range of events and networking opportunities including a Business Summit Breakfast, Nerf Networking event, and a procurement workshop to help businesses learn how to tender for public sector contracts.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen will welcome guests to the Thursday event and present the range of different initiatives in the Tees Valley designed to support business growth, especially those linked to job creation and expansion into new markets.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m looking forward to meeting a host of companies during the week. Creating jobs in Tees Valley, real jobs that can support families, means supporting small businesses as they grow. Our Business Compass Service is working flat out to reach out to small, growing firms and giving them the resources and confidence to scale up.”

Mark Carrigan, the council’s business investment manager, said: “We’re pleased to offer this session focussing on grants and finance during Darlington Business Week because there’s so much support out there for businesses of all sizes.

“The business support team at Darlington Borough Council are specialists in putting businesses in touch with the right organisations to help them get the right help and support to grow their company.

“The team offers an impartial service to all and can help businesses with funding and grants, as well as opening up doors to practical support such as information on available land or expansion opportunities.”

Local engineering firm, Ardmore Craig, successfully applied for business grants worth more than £30,000 to help with their expansion plans. The company has now settled into its new office in The Beehive at Lingfield Point, Darlington. In the past three months, the company has expanded both the size of its team and service offering, with staff growth of 25 per cent.

Andy Stevenson, director at Ardmore Craig said: “It’s been a really successful year for us. This funding means additional capacity to undertake larger scopes of work and to take on more clients as the business looks to grow. New business areas and our new company website will allow us to offer more efficient and cost effective services.”

The council’s Business Support team will be on hand at the event to offer their own localised expertise and advice. Representatives from the British Business bank, who look after the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, will also be on hand to offer advice to local businesses and those from across the Tees Valley.  

More details on Darlington Business Week are available from www.investindarlington.co.uk/events Tickets are free for every event but should be booked in advance to confirm numbers. The Business Support team are available to offer advice and support to businesses who can’t attend the event. They can be contacted on 01325 406305/ business.support@darlington.gov.uk

Hundreds of vacancies at Darlington Jobs Fair

Hundreds of vacancies at Darlington Jobs Fair

Thursday, September 27, 2018

MORE than 600 job opportunities will be on offer at the annual Darlington Jobs Fair, set to take place in the Dolphin Centre on Wednesday 10 October from 10am-3pm. The free event will give local people of all ages and experience the chance to find out what’s on offer in Darlington and beyond in terms of employment, training and business start-up, all under one roof.

MORE than 600 job opportunities will be on offer at the annual Darlington Jobs Fair, set to take place in the Dolphin Centre on Wednesday 10 October from 10am-3pm.

The free event will give local people of all ages and experience the chance to find out what’s on offer in Darlington and beyond in terms of employment, training and business start-up, all under one roof.

Among the 26 businesses already signed up to this year’s event and who have vacancies, or who will soon be recruiting for a range of roles, are: EE, Student Loans Company, HC1 Care providers, Deep Ocean, Darlington Borough Council, Allinsons Transport and Melton Mowbray Pies. Roles are on offer across a range of sectors, levels and contract types including full and part time, entry level and management positions.

Advice and support organisations already signed up include: Job Centre Plus, National Careers Service, TEDCO (self-employment support and advice), Morrisons Trust, who provide CV, interview skills and support, Routes to Work, Darlington Citizens Advice, Learning & Skills and Step Forward Tees Valley – a programme to help people overcome barriers to move into work or training.

The event follows on from the success of last year’s Fair which saw more than 1,000 people attend, some of whom were recruited on the day.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “Recruitment can be a very expensive process for any business. With this in mind, our business support team has once again decided to bring together those with vacancies and those looking for work under one roof to help fill mostly local jobs with local people.

“Whether you’re yet to take a first step on your career ladder or looking for a change of direction, or want extra training and qualifications; this event will have something for you…make a date in your diary and drop in.”

The recruitment fair is part of Darlington Business Week (Monday 8 - Friday 12 October) - offering a full programme of business based events aimed at encouraging Darlington businesses to network and find out more about the opportunities in Darlington and the Tees Valley. More details are at www.investindarlington.co.uk/events

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/