NORTHUMBERLAND has the answers when it comes to business accommodation.

The county is buzzing, benefiting from companies expanding and relocating from Tyneside and local businesses are expanding.

The county is buzzing, benefiting from companies expanding and relocating from Tyneside and local businesses are expanding. To accommodate the interest developers have responded – building new industrial units and offices over the last 12 months providing quality accommodation in Cramlington, Blyth and Ashington.

The rural areas have not been overlooked with office developments in Alnwick and Berwick under way and a range of conversion projects being completed in locations across the county offering ‘lifestyle’ accommodation in attractive locations.

In Cramlington Easter Developments has recently completed Easter Park – one of six developments regionally and their third speculative development in Cramlington.

At 127,500sqft providing 14 units, this scheme is the largest that they have undertaken to date in Cramlington.

Previous schemes in Cramlington have all let well and towards the end of 2006, work commenced on the site of 8.4 acres, at Nelson West.

A range of factories from 4,000sqft to 30,000sqft were completed in early October 2007 and are offered either to let or sell.

The agents, Knight Frank, and the developer are delighted with the interest already expressed with 65% already let/sold or under offer within a month of completion.

The premises have attracted a great deal of interest particularly from businesses needing to expand out of Tyneside.

They offer a cost-effective solution, along with an excellent location in terms of logistics etc. Northumberland Business Park is well located – adjacent to the A19, running west from Moor Farm Roundabout to Dudley lane.

It is a substantial site of 48 acres owned by Northumberland County Council.

After servicing the site the county council negotiated for more than 12 months with national property development company Gladman to agree terms in a deal which of will see the development of a £120m office park, with the potential to create 3,500 new jobs in the Cramlington area providing a major boost to the economy of south-east Northumberland.

This business park is the first of its kind in the county, providing much needed purpose-built office accommodation.

The vision for the business park is to create an exemplar development, reflecting the immediate natural environment.

To achieve this 15 acres has been set aside for soft landscaping incorporating trees, a wildflower meadow and green spaces around each building and edging the roads.

A cycle track has been included, and art work is also planned in strategic locations round the site.

The links to the natural environment have also been incorporated in the road names which have been taken from peaks in the Cheviots range.

The first phase is almost complete and the first occupiers will be moving in early in December.

Other developments in the south-east of the county include factory space at the new Ashwood Business Park at Ashington where six units totalling more than 40,000sqft has been completed by Ferguson. Sites for the next phase of development have been released, and work is under way to select the developers which will construct the next phases.

Development in rural parts of the county have also been buoyant, with King Sturge recently instructed by Hotspur Developments on their Cawledge Park office development at Alnwick.

The 12 offices ranging from 1,800sqft to 2,800sqft are expected to be complete early in the new year.

Further North, in Berwick, the new Ramparts Business Park has attracted a great deal of interest, with all sites now sold, and construction under way on several plots. A grant scheme operated by Northumberland County Council since April 2006 to assist the refurbishment of redundant buildings across the county has been particularly well received in rural areas.

Projects assisted have ranged from office space to cafés, galleries and a workshop.

The main objective to create new jobs by encouraging businesses to develop workspace for their own use or to let.

“Funding for this current scheme which closes in March 2008 is fully committed,” said project officer Ewen McRobie.

He added: “However plans are afoot to secure funding for a further three years from One NorthEast.”

To ensure Northumberland remains competitive the local authorities have commissioned consultants Segal Quince Wicksteed, to review the county’s employment land needs for the next 15 years.

The study is evaluating the availability and attractiveness of all the existing sites, and how needs might change. John Hamilton, the County Council’s economic development officer, who is chairing the group managing the study said: “It has so far confirmed that work over recent years means that, district by district, we are well placed to secure the market over the next five years.

“It is however highlighting how we will have to change to meet the challenges we can expect in the economy, as service industries continue to grow, land-based activities remain static, and manufacturing reduces.

“It also highlights the way work patterns will change as the needs for sustainability and the benefits of local and home working become more important.”

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