Workplace of the week: Lingfield Point

A 90-acre business park with a VW Campervan as a meeting room, Eddie Humphries explains why Lingfield Point prides itself on being an outstanding place to work…

Describe your business in no more than 100 words

Lingfield Point is a regional business base with a difference located in Darlington. We offer great spaces to companies and provide them with excellent customer service and essential amenities that allow them to create fantastic products and services. We’re home to a range of firms, from the likes of Capita, Amec Foster Wheeler and the Student Loans Company to start-ups and SMEs such as Para-Sols and Go Limitless. Rather than being home to a collection of generic offices, we have created a bright and unique business community.

What kind of workplace do you have? 

As a base for businesses, we have a range of distinctive office and warehousing options to meet the needs of our customers. We cater for companies of varying sizes with office space from 200sqft to 65,500sqft and warehousing up to 120,000sqft. Lingfield Point is a 90-acre business park, so there’s plenty of space for thriving businesses to join us. We also offer great facilities, including a 24/7 concierge service, on-site management team plus a canteen and a nursery.

Is there an interesting history to your workplace? 

Lingfield Point was originally Patons and Balwins, the world’s largest wool factory constructed around 1950. It has roots going back to the Industrial Revolution when two entrepreneurs, James Baldwin and John Paton, separately developed wool businesses before merging at Lingfield Point. In the 2000s work began to transform the site into a vibrant business community with a bright future. We’re proud of Lingfield Point’s heritage and pay tribute to it with our YARN suite of offices. Many locals still remember the days of Patons and Baldwins – in fact, one of our newest customers worked on the wool factory floor in the 1960s after leaving school.

What makes your workplace special?

Quite simply, Lingfield Point offers offices with soul. We’re home to eight distinctive spaces and each one serves a purpose that fits the needs of the relevant business. From the impressive Art Deco buildings Lingfield House and Beehive, which are both creative hives of business activity, and notable, award-winning workspace Memphis, there is something here for any company to feel at home. We’ve even got a VW Campervan situated in Beehive for customers to hold informal meetings.

Who is responsible for making your workplace brilliant?

I’m the estate manager, and along with deputy estate manager Sandra Boland, we manage Lingfield Point. Our concierge Ted is often the first person visitors to Lingfield House meet, and he ensures all of our customers are well looked after. Away from the site, Lingfield Point is owned by a fund managed by Clearbell and the team there play a huge role in investing in the site’s future.

Of course, all of the firms that call Lingfield Point home play a key part in making our workplace brilliant. Many customers bring their own creativity, such as Para-Sols who installed a ‘Para-Pub’ in their offices so their staff could unwind after a long week.

What made you want to deviate from the standard ‘desk, chair, kettle’ office setup?

We didn’t want to provide office space that was devoid of character. We wanted to create great spaces that would be enticing to businesses both big and small. Quirky workspaces, cool breakout areas, cafes and quiet zones along with intimate socialising spaces make people want to come to work at Lingfield Point every day, so we are pleased to offer this to them and more.

How does this affect morale, productivity, staff retention?

We’re proud to say that the businesses on our site are a very happy bunch, according to an independent perception survey. All of those who took part rated their overall satisfaction as good or excellent – and 100% would recommend Lingfield Point to others. This is all down to our customers having access to important facilities such as superfast fibre broadband, CCTV, 24-hour security, car parking and good public transport links.  

In terms of retention, many of our customers have been at Lingfield Point for many years and stay with us as they grow by expanding into larger office spaces on-site. Lingfield Point is a creative and happy place to work and excellent customer care ensures the businesses based in our great spaces are here to stay for the long term.

What kind of reaction do you get from visitors and clients when they see how you work?

Our customers, both prospective and current, are excited when they can see what we can offer them. From stunning visuals such as Lingfield House’s double-height Art Deco entrance to essential amenities, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for what we have at Lingfield Point. One of our newest customers, Christine McIntyre from psychotherapy company APT, said it best: “The building itself is glorious, the staff were so friendly and we more or less decided to move in on the spot.” The same enthusiasm goes for people who visit the site for meetings with our customers.

How far is too far – have you had to say no to anything?

To be honest, not really! We’ve been open-minded enough to host a festival on-site and install a VW Campervan as a meeting room, so we like to think of ourselves as pushing the boundaries of what business parks do. However, we’re not frivolous for the sake of it and if we had an idea that didn’t benefit our community then we would say no. Everything we do is grounded in what our customers need and want.

What other plans do you have to make your workplace even better?

We’re always investing in the site to make it even better for our customers. Due to high demand for workspace we recently invested £700,000 into the site, bringing 70,000sqft of unserviceable space into productive use. This follows a £1m infrastructure upgrade that we completed a couple of years ago. Our main plans are to bring our Wool Lofts and Rocket spaces into use, finding the right customer looking for a one-of-a-kind office space.