North Tyneside Council: The home of opportunities - sponsored feature

North Tyneside has been praised for its costs, connectivity, quality of life and commercial premises and is a place that is primed and ready for a successful future - sponsored feature

An artist's impression of what the Swans site in North Tyneside could look like after more than £100m is spent on its redvelopment
An artist's impression of what the Swans site in North Tyneside could look like after more than £100m is spent on its redvelopment

There can be no doubt that North Tyneside punches above its weight when it comes to what it can offer investors and businesses.

For a relatively small borough, its credentials are particularly impressive; boasting more than 50 business sites including two of the UK’s largest and most successful office parks, two incentivised Enterprise Zone areas, plus the largest purpose-built data centre development in the UK.

Add to this superb transport infrastructure, competitive wages and a great quality of living and it’s easy to see why the borough has been described as the “home of opportunities”.

North Tyneside has been praised for its costs, connectivity, quality of life and commercial premises and is a place that is primed and ready for a successful future, with its advantageous location, transport links, premises, people, housing, education and more, all working in its favour.

It is this unique mix which continues to attract people and businesses to North Tyneside, and which has enabled the borough to prosper despite difficult national and global economic conditions. The number of firms based in North Tyneside has grown considerably in recent years, and currently stands 4,965 – with 423 new businesses starting up in the borough in the last year alone.

North Tyneside has now begun to firmly position itself as the place for businesses to locate – particularly for those firms linked to advanced engineering, marine, renewable and subsea sectors – and has the space, infrastructure and local workforce to make success happen.

This includes 13 hectares of prime Enterprise Zone space available at Swan’s on the River Tyne.

North Tyneside Council has made the redevelopment of this strategic site a major priority and is spending £100m to transform the former shipyard into an advanced manufacturing hub for the offshore industry, bringing thousands of new jobs to Wallsend and benefiting the wider area.

The site is already home to a number of firms including WD Close Engineering, Graspan Frankton Maritime Security Training, Shoney Wind and Swan Hunter NE Ltd while a business incubation hub for SMEs is also under development at the site, to be ready by late spring.

On top of this, 30 hectares of the Port of Tyne’s North Tyneside estate at Whitehill Point falls within the North Bank of the Tyne Enterprise Zone, providing further opportunities for the growing oil, gas and wind energy markets.

The two sites – which are included in the national list of the Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering (COREs) – benefit from simplified planning processes, plus business rate discounts until 2018 and enhanced capital allowances until 2020.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of North Tyneside Council
Patrick Melia, chief executive of North Tyneside Council

Patrick Melia, chief executive of North Tyneside Council, said: “By making the most of our strengths, North Tyneside has continued to grow and prosper during some very challenging times.

“As momentum towards a low-carbon economy accelerates, North Tyneside is rapidly establishing itself as one of the best places to locate if you’re a low-carbon business looking to compete in the global market.

“We have the right infrastructure for manufacturing, access to a skilled workforce, an experienced local supply chain and committed local leadership.”

North Tyneside is also home to leading examples of innovative, people-friendly business parks, including Cobalt, the largest and most successful office park in the UK, offering over 2 million sq ft of office space.

It is already the location of choice for national and global organisations including Hewlett Packard, Procter & Gamble, Accenture, Utilitywise, G4S, Balfour Beatty, EE, Santander and more.

North Tyneside also uniquely boasts the largest purpose-built data centre development in the UK at Cobalt Park, offering an advanced, energy-efficient data centre campus consisting of three separate state-of-the-art facilities, providing 110,480sq ft of net-technical space.

Cobalt developer Highbridge is also behind Indigo Park, the 33-hectare strategic employment site at Sandy Lane, close to the A1 at Gosforth Park. The site can accommodate more than 1.3 million sq ft of bespoke manufacturing and distribution space and is available for immediate development, with the potential to generate more than 1,000 jobs.

Indigo Park will offer 82 acres for manufacturing and distribution facilities
Indigo Park will offer 82 acres for manufacturing and distribution facilities

A successful year for investment

A number of high-profile, large employers decided to locate or expand in North Tyneside last year, making it a great year for inward investment in the borough.

In June, North Tyneside Council welcomed Utilitywise – a utility cost management firm – to its new headquarters at Cobalt Park.

The company, which brought 640 staff with it, has plans to create a further 560 jobs in the near future.

The announcement was followed by news in July that multi-national IT firm Hewlett Packard (HP) was to expand its North Tyneside base and lease more space at Cobalt.

August saw international firm Cofely GDF Suez establish a major new centre at Quorum Business Park in Longbenton, bringing with it 50 staff and the potential to create up to 1,200 new local jobs over the next 18 months.

And in October, global energy giant Siemens signed a five-year contract to locate its customer support centre at Cobalt Park, bringing 200 employees and the opportunity to create a further 50 jobs.

Elected Mayor for North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn, said: “We have seen some great inward investment successes over recent months, and we are determined to ensure that this momentum continues.

“Businesses are choosing to locate to North Tyneside because of our unique offer; including some of the UK’s best industrial and office space, fantastic transport links and low commuting times, an award-winning coastline, great schools, housing and much more.

“North Tyneside Council is working hard to make sure that local, national and international investors understand what we have to offer in North Tyneside.

“We want to position North Tyneside as the place to locate a business, and secure our continued success and growth.”

North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn
North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn

The past 12 months have also seen some significant development and regeneration announcements for North Tyneside.

This included the March launch of a brand new 82-acre manufacturing and distribution site for the borough – Indigo Park – just off Sandy Lane and near to the A1 at Gosforth. The site, which is being developed by Highbridge, has the potential to generate more than 1,000 jobs.

In October, the continued regeneration of Wallsend town centre was given a significant boost with the announcement that New River Retail, owner of the Forum Shopping Centre, planned to bring a new Aldi supermarket and Burger King restaurant to the town.

The Wetherspoons chain was also given planning approval to convert the former Ritz cinema in the town centre into a pub in a £1.8m project.

And in December, North Tyneside Council launched its much-anticipated Whitley Bay Seafront Masterplan, which will see some £30m worth of development and investment along the borough’s popular stretch of coastline.

The regeneration will involve a mix of schemes set to be funded by North Tyneside Council and its partners as well as plans put forward by private developers – all aimed at making the area even more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.

These include plans for an impressive £1m visitor centre development at St Mary’s Headland, proposals to improve the Watts Slope area of Whitley Bay, plans for the future of the Spanish City Dome, significant promenade improvements and more.

The restoration of the Spanish City Dome will include unique opportunities for businesses looking to locate within the iconic, listed building – with the creation of a number of plaza-facing commercial units included in the plans.

North Tyneside Council recently announced it had started its search for suitable tenants; interested businesses sill have time to submit expressions of interest by contacting North Tyneside Council on 0191 643 2142.

The council wants to hear from businesses keen to locate in the Spanish City Dome
The council wants to hear from businesses keen to locate in the Spanish City Dome

More great reasons to relocate to North Tyneside

North Tyneside continues to be the location of choice for business and residents.

The number of firms in the borough continues to grow, with some 4,965 companies now located in North Tyneside, and the area’s population is also booming, with around 7,000 more residents moving into the borough, than out, in the past 10 years.

North Tyneside is already well-known for its fantastic range of office and industrial sites, with more than 50 to choose from including the UK’s biggest office park at Cobalt just off the A19, and two Enterprise Zone sites on the North Bank of the Tyne.

But it’s not just accommodation that’s successfully attracting businesses. The borough is also exceptionally well-connected when it comes to links with the rest of the UK and beyond, benefitting from air, sea and rapid regional and national road links, particularly via the A1 and A19 and enhanced by the opening of a second Tyne Tunnel.

Plans are also in the pipeline for more improvements to the A19, with a multi-million-pound scheme to upgrade its junction with the A1058 Coast Road at Silverlink. Proposals developed by the Highways Agency would lower the A19 under the Silverlink roundabout and add new slip roads. The scheme will significantly cut congestion and help to support further jobs growth at sites along the A19 corridor, including Cobalt Park. If approved, work could start as early as next year.

The borough also offers great connectivity for firms looking for access to the North Sea – with the all-weather Port of Tyne offering roll-on, roll-off facilities, deep-water river berths and Customs-approved warehousing and storage, plus passenger ferry and cruise ship services from North Shields.

Relatively lower operating costs compared to the rest of the UK also make North Tyneside particularly appealing for businesses. Firms can easily secure high-quality office or industrial space and pay up to 50% less than in London and the South East, and 20% less than in Leeds or Manchester.

But it’s not just all about what the borough can offer businesses; the quality of life on offer in North Tyneside is just as appealing – a fact that is demonstrated by the borough’s ever-growing resident population.

From the golden sands of its award-winning beaches to its friendly and busy town centres, North Tyneside has grown into a diverse and cosmopolitan area, offering up the perfect mix of urban, coastal and rural, where modern living meets natural beauty, history and heritage.

Prices for renting or buying a property in the borough are around 26% lower than the national average, and demand for homes continues to grow.

In December 2014, North Shields was named as the North East’s property hotspot, with house prices in the town rising by 6.8% in the last year – the fastest rate in the region.

Significant improvements are planned for the coast, including a visitor centre at St Mary's Headland
Significant improvements are planned for the coast, including a visitor centre at St Mary's Headland

North Tyneside Council’s Local Plan, which is currently under development, suggests that between 10,500 and 12,500 extra homes could be built in North Tyneside between 2014 and 2030 to meet predicted demand, offering a mix of developments including affordable family housing.

North Tyneside is also exceptionally well-connected to the rest of Tyne and Wear, by road and by public transport, making it really easy and quick to get about. Those who live and work in the borough also benefit from relatively low congestion and commuting times – meaning less time sitting in traffic and more time to enjoy life.

Residents can also feel secure living in North Tyneside, as the area has been the safest metropolitan borough in England for the past five years based on crime rates.

The borough also has some of the country’s best-performing primary and secondary schools in the country, according to Ofsted league tables of good and outstanding schools in each area.

Tourism in North Tyneside continues to grow year on year and the borough is the destination of choice for some 5.8 million visitors annually, bringing around £268m into the local economy each year and supporting around 4,000 jobs.

Its coastline, including Cullercoats, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, is a magnet for day-trippers; as is the Fish Quay in North Shields which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, drawn by the ever-expanding array of distinctive cafes, bars and restaurants, and views along the River Tyne.

North Tyneside’s diverse annual events programme also draws crowds of thousands; with the flagship Mouth of the Tyne Festival entertaining around 90,000 people each year, boosting the local economy by around £700,000.

Elected mayor for North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn, said: “North Tyneside is already a great place to live, work and visit and we will continue to build on this success as we work towards creating an even better borough.

“We have so much to offer businesses and residents, and we also have the commitment, plans and infrastructure in place to support even more growth.

“North Tyneside is a fantastic place to be, and we’re looking forward to welcoming even more businesses, residents and visitors during 2015.”

More more information in Invest North Tyneside go to www.investnorthtyneside.co.uk

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer