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HS2 bidders seek suppliers for £900m enabling works

HS2 bidders seek suppliers for £900m enabling works

Friday, January 08, 2016

Subcontractors and suppliers are being offered the chance to meet companies bidding for £900m of enabling works on HS2.

Representatives of the seven teams in the running for the three packages of enabling works will be at a meet-the-bidder day at the NEC in Birmingham.

The seven teams in contention for the works are:

• Balfour Beatty Vinci JV

• Carillion/Eiffage/Kier JV

• Costain Skanska JV

• Laing O’Rourke/Murphy Group JV

• Fusion (Morgan Sindall/BAM/Ferrovial)

• Align JV (Bouygues/VolkerFitzpatrick/Sir Robert McAlpine)

• Momentum Infrastructure (Hochtief/Dragados/Galliford Try).

The bidding teams are keen to meet companies with specific capabilities that will be required to deliver the enabling works.

In particular they are looking to engage with companies that deliver:

• Demolition & site clearance

• Fencing

• Security

• Environmental services

• Remediation

• Utilities

• Bulk excavation

• Civils sub-contracting

• Highways surfacing and construction

• Exhumations

• Structure (Bridges/Buildings) strengthening specialists

• Acoustic specialist installation for sound protection work to properties

• Archaeological investigations

• Habitat and species relocations

• Soft and Hard Landscaping

• Management of invasive plants: Japanese Knotweed and Hogwood

• Diversity and inclusion specialist training providers

• Instrumentation and Monitoring • Existing building surveys

• Temporary road diversion

• De-vegetation

• Waterway Diversion

• Compounds + access roads

• Temporary Works including Bridges

• Geotechnical Surveys

The event is being organised by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

Chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “The delivery of HS2 offers opportunities for supply chain companies from across the UK, and will create significant demand on key competencies.

“We wanted to ensure that those companies with the right abilities had the chance to put themselves in contention to work as a supplier on these substantial contracts.”

Companies looking to take part in the event must book their place before 27 January.

To express interest in attending, please email enquiries@ceca.co.uk with the subject ‘HS2/Construction Enquirer’ and further details will be sent.

Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre gets new owner in £108m retail firm expansion

Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre gets new owner in £108m retail firm expansion

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Darlington retail complex has a new owner after a property investment firm agreed a £108m deal.

NewRiver Retail Limited says it will take on the Neptune Portfolio, which includes Darlington’s Cornmill Centre.

Bosses at NewRiver say the Neptune deal, worth £92.3m, also takes in the Ridings Shopping Centre, in Wakefield, and Cardiff’s Capitol Shopping Centre.

NewRiver has also completed a £15.6m agreement for three further assets, which include a retail warehouse near York’s Clifton Moor Retail Park, London’s Blenheim Shopping Centre, and Daventry Retail Park, in Northamptonshire.

The expansion comes after a £150m shares offer.

David Lockhart, NewRiver chief executive, said: “Following our recently over-subscribed £150m equity raise, we are delighted to announce the swift deployment of the majority of the proceeds into these acquisitions.

“The Neptune Portfolio marks another major acquisition, and we are confident they will add significant long-term value for shareholders.”

NewRiver’s operations already include Middlesbrough’s Hillstreet Shopping Centre, Allison Court Retail Park, in Gateshead, and it has property in Newcastle’s NorthumberlandStreet.

The Cornmill Centre was bought for £84.5m by the Moorfield Real Estate Fund in 2007, which took it on from Investream, who had owned it from 2002.

Opened by Mayor of Darlington, Councillor David Lyonette, on August 27, 1992, the centre reshaped the heart of Darlington, with the most notable loss being the Co-op store, which stretched from Priestgate to Tubwell Row.

The centre was also used for filming of the BBC comedy sketch programme, The Fast Show.The mall, which welcomes thousands of visitors every day, was called Cornmill because in ancient times the Bishop of Durham sited the town corn mill where the TK Maxx multi-storey car park is today.

Leading UK subsea specialist contractors is the latest North East Company to secure funding

Leading UK subsea specialist contractors is the latest North East Company to secure funding

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Darlington based Modus Seabed Intervention (Modus), which is part of the Tompkins UK Group, has secured a £170,000 short term loan from the fund to finance the performance and warranty bond required to deliver a £1.7 million contract in the offshore wind sector.

Modus is one of a number of sub-contractors working with leading European energy group, DONG Energy, the Danish company laying the foundations of the extension to the Burbo Bank offshore windfarm 8km off the coast of Liverpool Bay in the Irish Sea.

Modus is surveying for, and disposing of, unexploded ordinance at the new windfarm site and hopes that successfully delivering this contract will open the door to similar large offshore wind projects.

FW Capital worked closely with Modus and its bank, HSBC, which provided the bonding required for the contract.

Modus’ Finance Director Mark Short said: “Modus has both the capacity and capability to expand its market share in the energy sector. This contract could be pivotal in paving the way to us winning further contracts in the sector and demonstrating our diverse range of services.

“The Tees Valley Catalyst Fund has provided us with the backing we needed to win this contract and winning it is excellent news for us. We quickly established a relationship with FW Capital and they worked with us and our bank to ensure we had the finance in place.”

Modus is a well-established company operating a comprehensive range of unmanned underwater vehicles which can be deployed across the entire life cycle of a subsea field development.

With the North Sea oil industry a key market, 2014 was a challenging year for the subsea sector.

While Modus continues to work with companies in the oil and gas and telecoms sectors around the world, it has invested in cutting-edge technology and developed its capabilities to take advantage of opportunities in the offshore wind sector.

FW Capital Investment Executive Chris Johnson said: “Modus is a business on an exciting growth path which is flying the flag for the Tees Valley. It’s an innovative company with a fantastic track record and an excellent reputation for providing market-leading products and services.

“Modus operates in a highly competitive marketplace and winning this contract is fantastic news for the company and its employees. It will open up new opportunities in future and I’m pleased that the loan from the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund has played a key role in this.”

The Tees Valley Catalyst Fund was conceived by Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), the Local Enterprise Partnership for the area to provide companies with the finance to grow and prosper. Backed by Regional Growth Fund, in October 2014 the fund was widened to businesses across the North East and parts of North Yorkshire.

Neil Kenley, Director of Business Investment at Tees Valley Unlimited said: “We wanted the Catalyst Fund to be the facilitator that would allow ambitious companies to reach new markets, win new contracts and showcase their capabilities on an international scale.

“The Tees Valley and wider North East has a wealth of unbridled knowledge and expertise and when we capitalise on that more work and more jobs come our way.”

HSBC Relationship Director Stuart Henry said: “Modus is really demonstrating the strength of the offshore and subsea supply chain here in the Tees Valley. As they continue to secure new contracts in both the UK and overseas, we look forward to working with FW Capital and the Tompkins UK Group, supporting the company as they continue their growth strategy.”

Darlington leads the way for growth

Darlington leads the way for growth

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Continued investment in Darlington has made it one of the fastest growing town's in the North of England according to new research.

The latest regional GVA breakdown by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) ranks Darlington as the best performing town in the North East.

According to the research, the town’s workplace based GVA per head of £23,745 outperformed the regional average of £18,216.

The ONS bases its calculations on income generated by individuals and businesses producing goods and services which have both grown rapidly.

The research shows the town’s booming business services and wholesale and retail sectors helped buck the trend, making the largest contribution to the growth.

Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, told BQ: “We’re delighted to see that Darlington has been named as the best performing economy in the North East for the second time in as many months.

“These positive GVA figures provided by the ONS are testament to the continued investment in the town and the hard work of many people, to bring a number of major projects and developments to fruition.

“We’re not resting on our laurels in Darlington though, we have exciting plans for future developments in the pipeline, which we’re currently exploring with our partners”

Nationally, London recorded the biggest increase in GVA in 2014 with growth of 5.3% and Northern Ireland the lowest, at 1.9%.

BQ’s Mike Hughes recently published an entire BQ2 in association with Lingfield Point looking at the recent growth in the town.

You can read the magazine here.

Capita opens Darlington HQ

Capita opens Darlington HQ

Friday, December 04, 2015

Professional support services company Capita has officially opened its new Darlington headquarters where it will employ a workforce of 450.

Capita has moved into 42,000 sq ft of space at Lingfield Point which has been designed and fitted out to its specific requirements.

MP for Darlington Jenny Chapman, who was on hand to open the office, said the investment "reflected the popularity" of the town as an "excellent place to do business".

"This is a positive indication of growth for the town and it's great news for the local economy", she added.  "It is heartening to see so many of the former factory buildings at Lingfield Point transformed into quality office space that helps to attract quality firms such as Capita".

"Darlington is a national transport hub and Lingfield Point's position so close to the road, rail, air and sea links make it an enviable location".

Dominic Moore, asset management director of Clearbell, which manages the fund that owns Lingfield Point, said: "The fact we are attracting businesses of the standing of Capita adds weight to our ambitions to create a regional hub for business.  We always enjoy welcoming new faces to Lingfield Point and as a result are investing in services and facilities to cater for our growing business community".

SSI Task Force - Funding Available

SSI Task Force - Funding Available

Friday, November 06, 2015

The SSI Task Force has secured £80 million from Government in response to the SSI Steelworks closure in Redcar.

£30 million has been ring-fenced to support workers' redundancy payments, alongside a number of new funds designed to support companies and individuals affected by the closure plus a grant scheme available for other Tees Valley companies who can demonstrate local growth and expansion opportunities.

Support for individuals includes:

SSI Task Force Apprenticeship Fund

SSI Task Force Flexible Skills Support Fund

SSI Task Force - Funding for FE College Courses

SSI Task Force Business Advice - Start Up Fund

SSI Task Force Safety Net Fund

Support for companies includes:

SSI Task Force Jobs & Skills Fund

Supply Chain & Growth Company Support Fund

Further information on the support available to individuals and businesses can be found on the tees valley website along with guidance notes and application forms. 

Darlington - the perfect location for expanding North East letting agency

Darlington - the perfect location for expanding North East letting agency

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A North East letting agency has rounded off an extremely successful growth period by adding to its team and moving into a new office.

The digitally innovative My Property Box, has moved into Business Central Darlington - having already made two new appointments to the team - and still plans for further expansion.

Reflecting on the business’ expansion, managing director, Ben Quaintrell, said: “I can’t believe how quickly time has gone. Our turnover has doubled year on year and I couldn’t be more pleased as we are flourishing.

“I am very proud of all that we have achieved and we plan to continue to grow throughout the North East.”

The Business Central’s office is an ideal location for the innovative agency and is a central location for the North East.

Ben continued to say: “High street agents are slowly becoming a thing of the past. The industry is going online and we are excited to expand and be able to target more people than ever before.”

The My Property Box team has recently grown from four to six members, with the appointments of Heather Mochrie, as business development manager, and Vickie Baxter, as a lettings administrator.

Heather, of Darlington, joined the company having previously worked for property website Zoopla, while Bishop Auckland based Vicky has previous experience in administration at a print company. 

My Property Box was founded by Ben in 2012. After eight years of experience in the industry he found other agencies were not utilising modern digital technologies and social media, something in which he saw great potential.

 After winning several large contracts, the company is already planning for the future with further plans of growing in mind. 

The proactive agency offers a range of letting services ranging from advertise only to fully managed services, as well bespoke packages for landlords looking to provide maximum exposure for their properties.

For more information on My Property Box, please visit: http://www.mypropertybox.co.uk/.

For more information on Business Central, please visit: http://www.businesscentraldarlington.co.uk


Opening of £38m centre of excellence in Darlington

Opening of £38m centre of excellence in Darlington

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A £38M centre of excellence can revolutionise medicines and put the North-East at the vanguard of global health treatments. That was the proud boast of bosses at The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), as they officially opened the Darlington National Biologics Manufacturing Centre today (Wednesday, September 30).

The site will provide firms with technical backing to research and develop potentially life-saving cures and vaccines, including cancer treatments and therapies for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Officials say it will also tackle the US’ stronghold on the life sciences sector, raising the UK’s repute by supporting companies’ growth and helping take their concepts to market.

The base was officially opened by Jo Johnson, Universities and Science Minister, who hailed it “money exceptionally well spent.”

Nigel Perry, CPI chief executive, said the site, which has brought scores of highly-skilled jobs to the region, offers the perfect platform for further growth in the organisation and the biologics industry, both in the North-East and the UK.

He said: “The UK is first-class for healthcare development and this is a world-class asset.


I’m over the moon with this building, and it is a real example of Darlington and the North-East leading the way.

“This is a tremendous achievement, and it’s now over to the industry to take advantage of what is here.

“The centre will significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics, and it will enable companies to test and trial new ideas cheaply and quickly with minimised risk.

“That means new and innovative medicines will reach the market faster and provide improved care for patients and better opportunities for businesses.”

Mr Perry said the impact of CPI, which has its head office at Wilton, near Redcar, and runs the National Printable Electronics Centre at NetPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, can be a real driver in strengthening the regional and UK economy.

He added the building’s position, close to Darlington’s Bank Top station, would also prove crucial to its success.

He said: “The thing that really excites me is that I can see the North-East, including Darlington and Teesside, starting to build a real sense of pride.

“You can feel the buzz all around you.

“We know we can do these things and this development is just the catalyst for more in this region.

“We have the connections to the rest of the UK and are extremely well placed to support the industry.”

Darlington fended off other UK sites to the secure the centre, including science powerhouse Cambridge, with the development’s £38m investment made by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The Northern Echo understands the CPI already has a list of projects for the base, including a partnership with Midatech Biogune, which is focused on insulin patches capable of delivering slow release treatments through strips in the mouth.

The CPI is also expected to work with Arecor and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, based in Billingham, near Stockton, on ways to improve the shelf-life of medicines.

Mr Johnson, brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson, took a tour of the site, and told guests he was impressed by the facility.

He said: “The CPI is doing something special here, and the factory is money exceptionally well spent.

“Biologics need to be made cheaper and quicker, and that is why we have built this centre.

“Innovation will continue to be a crucial driver in the growth of the UK.

“We want the UK to be the best place in the world and this centre will ensure Darlington and the North-East will remain at the forefront, while strengthening the UK’s position of choice for life science companies.”

Steve Bagshaw, Fujifilm chief executive, also opened the site.

He added: “This is an industry bringing hope for the next generation, and this centre is so important for the industry.

“It is part of the infrastructure the UK needs to be a leading player.

“This is a real opportunity to influence what goes on in the sector.”


The CPI is a national technology and innovation centre for the process manufacturing industry

It provides facilities and knowledge to help customers to deliver products to the market faster by proving their commercial strength

It has worked with thousands of 2,000 firms, from large pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies, such as Rolls-Royce and Procter and Gamble, to smaller start-ups.

Successfully completing in excess of 350 public and private projects, worth more than £300m, the CPI last year revealed it was supporting the Darlington-based National Horizons Centre, which will back emerging industries and could create thousands of North-East jobs.

At NetPark, CPI’s labs have also played a key role in helping PolyPhotonix produce sleep masks capable of transforming the treatment of eye disease in diabetes sufferers.

Funded by £14m of taxpayers’ money, bosses say the masks could save the NHS £1bn a year.


A biopharmaceutical, or biologic, is any medicinal product made in or extracted from biological sources, such as bacteria.

Examples include:

Antibodies, which may be used to target or destroy cancer cells

Vaccines to prevent infectious diseases, such as flu and Ebola

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Insulin for the treatment of diabetes

Hormones and enzymes to replace missing proteins in rare genetic disorders 

Former Darlington College engineer wins F1 internship

Former Darlington College engineer wins F1 internship

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A budding race engineer has secured pole position after being selected for a life changing opportunity to work in Formula One.

Former Darlington College student Daniel Sanham, 25, has earned himself a 12 month internship with quadruple Formula One World Championship-winning team Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Infiniti Motor Company after a global competition to find the world’s best engineers. 

Daniel, of Newton Aycliffe, who studied HNC electronic and electrical engineering at Darlington College, triumphed over nine other finalists from France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Italy and Great Britain in the European heat of Infiniti’s Performance Engineering Academy 2015, which attracted over 2,050 entrants worldwide.

Established in 2014, the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy offers undergraduate engineers the opportunity to gain experience by working in automotive and Formula One engineering using some of the most advanced technology in the world.

Daniel is one of only five students handpicked from across the globe to take part in the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy programme.

He said: “I was absolutely ecstatic when I got the call to say that I had won. The interview process was really tough as all of the candidates were extremely talented and we were put through a rigorous selection process, including a written exam, psychometric testing and two design challenges, to assess our performance potential, innovative thinking and communication skills.

“I know that this is an unbelievable opportunity and I’m really looking forward to learning alongside some of the best engineers in the world, working with some of the most advanced automotive technology and showing what I am capable of – oh and meeting the racing drivers too.“

Starting in October Daniel will spend eight months working on vehicle design at the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes alongside fellow competition winners from Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and the USA. He will then spend four months at Infiniti’s European Technical Centre, Cranfield, working on road car development projects.

“We were really impressed with the way Daniel conducted himself throughout the whole selection process,“ said David Moss, vice president of vehicle design and development Infiniti Technical Centre for Europe.

“He took the lead from the start, listened to ideas and articulated his own thoughts and designs clearly – this is now a fantastic opportunity for him to showcase his knowledge and skills over the next 12 months.

“Daniel and his counterparts will be placed to approach road car design and development challenges, particularly relating to the new Q30 Compact model. We are looking forward to welcoming Daniel and seeing how he progresses.“