Multi-million-pound County Durham science park expansion to create 1,250 jobs

Work is underway on the £61m expansion of one of the UK’s premier science parks following the appointment of a contractor.

Led by Durham County Council, the development of phase three of The North East Technology Park (NETPark) at Sedgefield has begun, after Kier was chosen to deliver the project.

The county council is funding the expansion of the park with support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP). Phase three has the potential to create 1,250 skilled jobs and to be worth £625m to the local economy over the next ten years.

Plans are also in place for a fourth phase of NETPark with potentially more to follow, with additional land designated for development that would take the number of jobs at the site to between 3,000 and 4,000.

Leader of the council, Cllr Amanda Hopgood commented: “It is really exciting to have started work on the third phase of NETPark and to have appointed Kier to deliver the project.

“We are delighted to be making a significant investment in the expansion and grateful to the North East LEP for its support, which is in recognition of the fantastic employment opportunities that NETPark presents in our region.

“The prospect of the further 1,250 skilled jobs worth £625m, and the potential for NETPark to ultimately host 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in total, is proof that we are delivering on our ambition to create more and better jobs for our residents, as set out in our Inclusive Economic Strategy.”

The new phase of what is the region’s premier science park will include up to 232,000 square feet of new laboratory, office and production space, and will cover an initial seven hectares of land, rising to 16 hectares. It will also provide facilities for both existing tenants to expand and to enable future inward investment.

As well as the potential 1,250 new direct jobs, the expansion stands to provide an additional 2,200 in the supply chain. Skilled jobs will be created across a broad range of specialties, such as scientists, technicians, administration, accounting, marketing, IT and logistics.

In addition to the council’s investment, the North East LEP is providing funding that will enable sustainability and low carbon measures in phase three. This is on the back of a previous Local Growth Fund grant, also from the North East LEP, which allowed highway infrastructure to be put in place to open up the land for development.

Lucy Winskell OBE, chair of the North East LEP, added: “Home to three national innovation centres, as well as a community of science and technology companies that have helped grow key sectors across the North East, NETPark has proven its ability to secure investment into our region and create jobs.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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