Rebecca Wayman

Aycliffe Business Park expansion could create over 3,000 jobs

County Durham’s biggest business park is due for further expansion after news that the outline planning permission for a major new development is close to being submitted.

Durham County Council has begun the next phase of work to expand Aycliffe Business Park onto the 55-hectare Forrest Park site.

The site, for which the Local Enterprise Partnership has provided £13m funding, is hoped will be the subject of a £140m private sector investment with the potential to accommodate a rail freight interchange.

Andy Palmer, the council’s head of transformation and chair of the joint venture company behind the Forrest Park development, said: “A lot of the groundwork has already been undertaken and we’re close to submitting a planning application for the development.

“We already have a lot of interest in the site, because it is very visual, people can see the preparatory works that have already been undertaken, and we’ve already held discussions with development partners and we expect things to happen fairly quickly.

“When completed it will mean Aycliffe Business Park will be the largest business park in the North East, which will be a major feather in the cap for County Durham.”

It is estimated Forrest Park could see the creation of 3,200 jobs across 1.75m sq ft development floor space and deliver a gross value added (GVA) boost of £495m over the next 10-15 years.

During a meeting of the Aycliffe Business Park Community, local businesses were told planning consultants have now been commissioned and the proposal is expected to be submitted early this year.

Aycliffe Business Park is already home to around 500 companies and an estimated 10,000 employees. The Forrest Park proposal will see the creation of three types of development units - business, general industrial and storage or distribution.

Preparatory groundworks began in late 2016, and the enabling works are continuing with the creation of a new traffic light controlled junction on the A167 - for better access to both the new site and the business park.

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