Jobs boost promised through £10m Durham retail hub

Workwear Express is to bring a range of other businesses to the former Kerry Foods factory near Durham Retail Park

Andrew Ward of Workwear Express, left, with Peter Bartley of Bradley Hall
Andrew Ward of Workwear Express, left, with Peter Bartley of Bradley Hall

Around 300 jobs could be created through plans for a £10m trade and retail hub near Durham.

Andrew Ward, managing director of Durham-based corporate clothing maker Workwear Express, has bought the former Kerry Foods factory near Durham Retail Park for a seven figure sum and plans to relocate his business to the 5.82 acre site from its current home the Belmont Industrial Estate. The new premises will contain state-of-the-art production facilities that can customise clothes with embroidery or corporate logos.

Ward, a former market trader and keen property developer also wants to develop a brand new motor showroom, a fast food outlet, and up to 15 trade counter units at the Rennys Lane development, which will be called the Ward Trade Park. Construction work will start this year, with the development due to be completed by next summer. Talks are ongoing with well-known national companies, set to become tenants. Ward, who launched Workwear Express in 1990, said: “Seldom does the opportunity arise to acquire such a prominent site on the outskirts of Durham within such close proximity to major retailers such as Tesco, B&Q and Boots.

“The site not only provides us with the space and opportunity for our company to grow but also allows me to feed my passion for property and develop what will hopefully become a vibrant business hub in the area.”

He added that the move would enable Workwear Express to increase headcount from 90 to 130 over the next 12-18 months. Turnover is expected to rise from £7.5m to more than £10m in the same period.

Peter Bartley, director at Bradley Hall, which advised Workwear Express on the acquisition of the 132,616 sq ft unit, said: “It’s nice to see a local company committing to the area and purchasing such prominent opportunities with a view to growing their existing business. The site is arguably one of the most desirable locations in Durham which has been proven by the amount of enquiries that I have already taken.’’

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