Focus on Cramlington: 'New Town' enjoys new growth

Tony Wordsworth and Danny Cramman look at the rapid growth of Cramlington and recent changes which have helped to maintain its popularity as a residential and commercial centre

Manor Walks retail development in Cramlington Northumberland
Manor Walks retail development in Cramlington Northumberland

Nine miles north of Newcastle, Cramlington is now one of the largest towns in Northumberland having seen large-scale development during the 60s and 70s as a New Town and a sub-regional growth point for the county.

The town now accommodates approximately 10% of the county’s total population.

The private sector developed the housing with large industrial estates being promoted by English Estates and Northumberland County Council on 500 acres in the northern sector, including the Bassington and Nelson Industrial estates. The development of the pharmaceutical park also brought in major corporates with new leading-edge technology and new employment opportunities for the residents of Cramlington and the surrounding settlements.

Future industrial development activity is likely to be focused on the West Hartford site, extending to 131 acres which can accommodate large-scale inward investment projects.

There has been little new build activity during the economic recession but key industrial agents feel there is a shortage of supply of new industrial units in the immediate area which may be the catalyst for new-build activity.

The emerging Core Strategy for Northumberland seeks to sustain and grow the town as a sub-regional employment centre. Future development of 3,500 new homes will be accommodated primarily within the south west sector of the town.

The Manor Walks Shopping Centre and the adjoining Manor Walks Retail Park form the core retail area within the town centre. The development owned by Hammerson has seen extensive development in recent years improving the retail and leisure offer including a nine-screen VUE multiplex cinema together with new restaurants and new national retail outlets.

Gladman Developments over the past six years have been responsible for the construction of more than 115,000 sq ft of office accommodation at Northumberland Business Park to the south of the A19, which has the overall potential to accommodate up to 400,000sq ft of office space.

The developer has attracted a cluster of offshore companies to the park by way of a combination of lettings and sales and can offer immediately available units from 2,250 sq ft to 25,500 sq ft together with design and build property solutions. The joint agents are GVA and Sanderson Weatherall.

Tony Wordsworth and Danny Cramman, National Markets, Offices and Industrial, GVA

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High spec accommodation shortage 'affecting town'

In keeping with other parts of the North East, the town of Cramlington is suffering from a shortgage of good high spec accommodation, writes Bill Lynn

Cramlington was the design of Northumberland County Council as a New Town mid-1960s, unlike most new towns which were promoted by the Commission for New Towns.

Whilst it was based around an existing small mining village, it has now grown to be one of the more densely-populated and, indeed, popular areas of South East Northumberland.

All the major residential developers have built there and continue to do so, and there have been a number of schemes where builders have taken brownfield sites and tried to convert them to residential, although some have faced challenges obtaining planning.

The town enjoys good road communications and the road network works well, with good links to both the A1(M), the A19 and A194.

The original shopping centre, known as Manor Walks, has been extended on a number of occasions.

Owned by Hammerson, it boasts both Asda and Sainsbury’s as well as a complete range of town centre shops on a large site.

Shoppers were attracted by free and plentiful car parking, but there is more pressure on car parking now than there once was.

The town centre is also complemented by a retail park, leisure centre and recently-opened Vue cinema, giving it a full range of facilities.

Cramlington boasts many industrial estates, many of which started life under the direction of English Industrial Estates Corporation, latterly One North East, but the majority are now in private ownership.

There is some industrial and commercial development going on, but in keeping with other parts of the North East good high spec industrial accommodation is at something of a shortage.

Bill Lynn, head of agency at Storeys Edward Symmons, part of ES Group

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