CONSTRUCTION on a new £7.7m bus depot in Gateshead is set to begin this summer with the potential to create 170 building jobs on site.
Planning permission has been granted for the new purpose-built depot for Go North East, the area’s largest bus company, which will relocate from its existing facilities in Winlaton and Sunderland Road, Gateshead, into the development at Handy Drive, on Metro Riverside.
The new facility will secure 559 jobs in Gateshead with the potential to provide many more with expansion.
A further potential 170 jobs will be provided during construction of the depot. The new depot will also allow the bus operator to increase operations in the future and improve day-to-day operational efficiency.
Managing director Kevin Carr said: “Our other two depots in Gateshead are quite old.
“One of them is a former tram depot that was built in the 1950s and between them they are not up to the standards of a modern-day bus depot.
“This new development will be able to house 175 buses making it one of the company’s largest depots.
“It will last the next 40 years and will secure the jobs of all our employees currently at our two other depots for the foreseeable future.
“The new facility, designed by UK Land Estates, will make our bus operations even more efficient for our customers and underlines our pledge to continuing improvement we've made in our Charter for Positive Change.”
The new depot will include many sustainable design elements such as rainwater harvesting and recycling of water onsite. The depot will cover approximately 2.38 hectares and consist of 4,150 square metres of workshops, storage, office, mess room and training facilities with external testing and bus fleet parking areas.
Gateshead Council group director of development and enterprise, Paul Dowling, said: “This is the latest in a series of major private sector investments on brown field sites in Gateshead.
“This area around the Metro Centre is a key regeneration area and we look forward to working with our partners to attract further development opportunities in the future.”
UK Land Estates is putting plans in place to start on site in the summer 2012 with occupation by Go North East likely by later summer 2013.
Go North East is the leading bus operator in the North of England.
Its fleet of 660 buses and coaches provide local services in Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, County Durham, Teesside, Sunderland and the surrounding areas.