Proposed £50m investment in Sedgefield's NETPark could create up to 1,250 skilled jobs

Sep 08, 2021

County councillors are being asked to support a £50 million investment that could create up to 1,250 new jobs for North East workers.

 

NETPark at Sedgefield in County Durham is a major science and technology park and is looking to expand.

 

The park is on the former Winterton Hospital site and is home to several high-tech companies specialising in fields such as nanotechnology, forensics, and X-rays.

 

Durham County Council's cabinet have been asked to agree £49.6 million in funding to help finance a new third phase of the development.

 

The council say the new phase would create up to 1,250 skilled jobs, helping the council deliver its ambition to create more and better jobs for residents.

 

It is claimed the development would be worth up to £625 million to the County Durham economy.

 

Cllr James Rowlandson, the council’s Cabinet member for resources, investments and assets, said: “As the region’s premier science and technology park, NETPark has been and remains a genuine success story.

 

“It is home to some really innovative companies doing truly ground-breaking work and has certainly played its part in cementing County Durham’s reputation as a great place to do business.

 

“It is really exciting to be contemplating a third phase of NETPark and the prospect of the further 1,250 skilled jobs worth £625m to our economy is tangible evidence of us delivering on our ambition to create more and better jobs for our residents.”

 

The site also has close links with Durham University - Dr Tim Hammond, the institutions' director of commercialisation and economic development, said: "“NETPark is a hugely important innovation asset for the North East.

 

"The proposed expansion will provide further accommodation to our growing number of spinouts, provide employment for our graduates and open further opportunities for innovative, high growth NETPark based businesses to collaborate and engage with the University through our Orbit University Enterprise Zone which has recently opened on site.”

 

The meeting on Wednesday, September 15 will be told of a scheme to develop up to 270,000 square feet of new workspace, based on demand from existing NETPark tenants and potential further inward investment.

 

A report to the cabinet claims the third phase of NETPark would provide a broad range of job opportunities including scientists, technicians, administration, accounting, marketing, IT and logistics.

 

Councillors will be told the cost of the two-year building programme will be offset by income generated from rent paid by tenants of the park across a 35-year period.

 

A report to councillors sets out how a £5.1 million Local Growth Fund from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has allowed the necessary infrastructure to be put in place to open the land up for development.

 

Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the North East LEP Investment Board, said: “NETPark’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading science, engineering and technology parks has helped attract some of the world’s most innovative companies to County Durham and the North East.

 

“The infrastructure works funded through the Local Growth Fund mean this landmark site can now expand, creating more opportunities for businesses to invest in the North East, and ensuring the region’s thriving health and life sciences sector can continue to grow.

 

“The ongoing success of NETPark will bring more jobs to our region, increase research and development and innovation in our universities and businesses, and ensure the North East has a major role to play in driving forward government’s Life Sciences Vision and Innovation Strategy.”