Durham, a county with a rich heritage in industry and innovation, is somewhere that is fast becoming today’s beacon for business in the North thanks to a number of leading lights of the business world.
Several multi-nationals are located here including GSK, Caterpillar, NSK and Hitachi, which located its £82m European HQ for high speed rail at Newton Aycliffe. The county also nurtures several home grown success stories such as Seaward Electronics, Kromek, Gestamp Tallent, Thomas Swan and Thorn Lighting, amongst others. These companies employ significant numbers and have invested and reinvested in the county. Durham City is a key location for business services and has potential to grow.
The purchase of Salvus House by Durham County Council to act as a business incubator will create up to 200 direct jobs with a further 500 indirect jobs. The council has also set out plans to create approximately 6,000 private sector jobs by redeveloping its county hall site and moving the council to a smaller HQ in the city centre.
The most important business sectors are Automotive, Precision Engineering, Electronics, Health, and Financial, Professional and Business Services. But this list is not exhaustive and the county boasts a broad business base, with significant strengths in technology, engineering and manufacturing, which makes up 20% of the county’s economy (compared with 16% across the UK as a whole). Over the last four years, through Business Durham - the county’s economic development company working on behalf of Durham County Council - 3,400 businesses have relocated, set up or expanded their business in the county. This equates to more than 6,300 jobs and over £187m for the economy. And 40 multinationals, unique and niche companies have invested and re-invested in the county over the last three years.
The A1(M) corridor provides a focus for a wide range of businesses. NETPark, near Sedgefield, is a science park for businesses involved in high value science, engineering and technology sectors. Aycliffe Business Park is one of the largest business parks in North East England and is the base for a range of industrial and logistics firms. Work has now started on the 52 acre Forrest Park site, expanding on the Aycliffe Business Park development, with a further 3,200 jobs expected.
There are also a number of opportunities on key sites along this corridor including the new mixed-use Durham Gate development near Spennymoor as well as other key sites adjacent to Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett and Stanley. The capacity of the A19 corridor is being developed. Seaham, Murton and Peterlee are key locations for new housing, retail and employment developments, which will build on existing strengths in manufacturing, engineering, business services sectors as well as opportunities for enterprises and tourism.
The county is a great place to live and work and has a proven track record in hosting world class cultural programmes, such as the UK’s largest light festival, Lumiere, which returns for its fifth edition in 2017 and the amazing Kynren; An Epic Tale of England, in Bishop Auckland - Durham is a thriving place to live and visit. The ‘This is Durham, Place of Light,’ brand, developed by Visit County Durham, will help promote the county nationally and internationally as a place to invest, live, work and meet; shining the spotlight on the county as a place to be proud of; a beacon guiding businesses, residents and visitors alike to this vibrant place.
For more information visit www.businessdurham.co.uk