The traditional image of a Business Park is not always a pleasant one. Often little more than a collection of corrugated metal sheds stood forlorn next to a motorway, they are not generally known for being the most inspiring of places.
However, Adrian Hill director of Highbridge Properties is determined to dispel this myth, and is quick to correct me when I refer to Cobalt, one of Highbridges’ key developments as a ‘business park’.
“I try not to use the word business park – I much prefer the word scheme,” explains Adrian. “While its not a town, we do try and create a sense of community here which goes beyond the traditional business park.”
Indeed, when we meet in the marketing suite at Cobalt, it is clear that this one does buck the trend. Overlooking green spaces and waterways, the light and airy office is surprisingly pleasant – factors that Adrian believes sets Cobalt apart from other developments.
“There is nothing quite like Cobalt on a UK scale in terms of quality. For example the floor to ceiling high is greater than in other developments. While it’s difficult to get early payback on features like this, they have allowed us to pull in high profile business that wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to locate here otherwise so they’re undoubtedly worth it.
“Equally in the new buildings at Cobalt, we have used innovative designs which could save inhabitants up to 50 percent on their energy bills. Ultimately it’s these factors which help to ensure a happy workforce.”
Providing for the 10,000-strong workforce is something that Adrian clearly feels passionate about. Throughout the site, which spans the same length as the distance from the Tyne Bridge to the Town Moor, Adrian and his colleagues have made generous provisions to ensure each individual is catered for.
“454 buses go through the scheme daily, while a further 481 go round the edge. And then there’s the Metro,” says Adrian, who has clearly done his research. “ There are also five road routes out of the park.”
“We’ve also created the ‘More’ card,” he continues. “This gives people working on the scheme access to deals and offers at shopping and leisure outlets both here and in the City Centre, and the team at the park also run a variety of activities for workers to get involved in.”
Adrian is evidently very proud of Cobalt, and even offers to give me a tour of the site, and as an employee, I must admit that the vast array of facilities nearby is very appealing.
“A lot of businesses who would have previously said no to relocating to a business park due to lack of amenities have changed their minds because they are so heavily provided for,” Adrian says.
“I know I’m biased, but after seeing what we have to offer, why wouldn’t you want to come here?”