Companies looking for business space in North-East England have discovered Darlington as a viable alternative to the larger cities of the region. This vibrant market town is surrounded by some of the UK's most beautiful countryside.
Ask the head of any Darlington-based company why they chose to move their company to the town and quality of life will be near the top of their list of reasons. Another reason will be Darlington's location, enjoying excellent transport links. The town's proximity to the A1, the excellent East Coast Main Line and Durham Tees Valley Airport make Darlington a growing business destination of choice.
The local road network is being improved and earlier this year work began on the Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor. Once completed in Spring 2008, this new road will link the A66 to the east of Darlington with the town centre.
The new road will run alongside the original route of the world's oldest railway, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which has been remodelled to create a new cycle route.
The road will also run along the northern boundary of Lingfield Point Business Park, Darlington's most exciting regeneration project. Lingfield Point will enjoy direct access from the new road and will be positioned at Darlington's new front door. Originally built in the 1950s as the Patons and Baldwins wool factory, over 2,500 local people were employed on site. Current owner, Marchday, has invested more than £27m over the last five years converting tired factory buildings into high quality contemporary business space. Such is the success of Lingfield Point that it will soon be the workplace for more people than in the wool factory's heyday.
A number of landmark buildings have already been regenerated as part of the project - one such building is the Beehive. The Beehive Ballroom is a well-loved local landmark and during the 1950s and 60s hosted many parties, concerts and dances.
The Beehive was one of the first buildings at Lingfield Point to be revamped, and phases One and Two are now fully occupied by companies such as Faulkner Browns, Four Seasons Healthcare and Darlington Borough Council. Local MP Alan Milburn has also chosen Beehive as his constituency office.
Phase Three is nearing completion and, when available in August 2007, will offer up to 5,300 square feet of contemporary, high-quality office space over three floors, with its own car parking. The scheme has been designed to be occupied by a single company or split into two separate office suites. The space is air-conditioned but has been designed to be `mixed mode'. This means that the building can utilise natural low energy cooling as an alternative to air-conditioning on all but the hottest days. Occupiers will benefit from an impressive individual entrance, contemporary meeting space and relaxing break out areas.
Security is a key focus of the Beehive design and throughout Lingfield Point with video entry systems to all suites and communal areas supported by extensive CCTV, vehicle recognition technology and 24-hour staffed security.
The Beehive is regaining its landmark status, but as a cutting edge business location.
Eddie Humphries, estate manager at Lingfield Point, said: "We have been delighted by the success of phases One and Two, and are excited to be making phase Three available to new occupiers. Businesses appreciate the contemporary setting, design and unique features."
In addition, work started earlier this year on `The Studios', a suite of contemporary office accommodation located at the heart of Lingfield Point. The development will provide striking contemporary design, an excellent level of natural light including skylights, broadband connectivity and extensive car parking.
The Studios will also be `mixed mode' work space allowing the occupier to choose between air conditioning or green natural cooling.
In 2006, Memphis was redeveloped into a striking, contemporary office building, with a stunning full-height glazed façade.
With over 160 square metres of glass used to create the facade, natural light will flood into the striking loft-style office space. Memphis has attracted another blue-chip employer to the business park, which is already home to Capita, Naafi, Coats Crafts and NHS.
* For more information about available office space at Lingfield Point, please contact joint letting agents Sanderson Weatherall (01642) 870870/GVA Lamb & Edge (0191) 203-7103 or Lingfield Point's estate management team on (01325) 486486.