A multi-million pound award has officially set in motion a landmark development designed to regenerate a Northumberland town and attract jobs and investment.
Blyth Workspace, a key development at Commissioners Quay in the seaside town, has got the go-ahead following the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s award of £2.6m from its North East Investment Fund.
The seven-figure sum is the final piece in the funding jigsaw, meaning work can begin on the office development, which aims to attract businesses connected to the offshore, subsea and marine sector.
The development, offering over 30,000 sq ft of office space in a four-storey office block, will be built at the LEP’s North East Enterprise Zone site in Blyth, which offers added benefits for investors, and is close to Narec, (National Renewable Energy Centre) and the Port of Blyth, both pivotal parts of the region’s offshore energy market.
Michael Bellamy, North East LEP board member and general manager of Cramlington-based PII Pipeline Solutions, said: “This is an important new development for Northumberland and the wider LEP area. It fits the LEP’s priorities well, by assisting in the development of the Enterprise Zone site at the Port of Blyth and bringing superb office space close to the waterfront, designed to attract new inward investors in the offshore, marine and energy sectors.”
Blyth Workspace is the centrepiece of a wider mixed use scheme at the Commissioners Quay site being developed by Arch, the Northumberland development company, and construction will begin this year and be completed in 2015.
The development has also received funding support from the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Andrew Mill, Narec’s chief executive said: “Narec’s facilities are world-class and we are working with the LEP and others to galvanise manufacturers, suppliers and the whole river system to service the offshore energy sector.
“We are now ensuring we have our assets in place, such as Blyth Workspace, so we can attract international manufacturers into the UK. The knock-on effect of that will create opportunities for suppliers to set up close by, which will stimulate serial manufacturing on our rivers.”
Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley added: “This is excellent news for Blyth, with regional funds from the LEP being used in a targeted way to grow the town’s business prospects. The offshore and renewable sector is already well-represented here and I’m delighted that the first bricks will be laid this year.”