Durham County Council attended UKREiiF, a national exhibition designed to showcase the scale of development progress across the UK and profile future investment opportunities to investors, developers and commercial occupiers from around the globe.
With £2 billion of investment, planned or underway, and an ambitious ten-year economic strategy, the council are keen to make the point that Durham makes an ideal location for investment and development.
A hotbed of innovation, the county has seen its hi-tech sector go from strength-to-strength, along with growth in the up-and coming UK space sector.
With a top 100 university on the doorstep, and four others in the region, it has one of the largest pools of talent anywhere in the UK. Key to success is the quality of County Durham’s strategic business sites, which provide the facilities and the environment to allow companies to grow and flourish, along with easy access to world-wide markets through excellent connectivity by road, rail, air and sea.
At the event the team from Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Durham, highlighted the strength of hi-tech companies in the area, with scores of thriving innovative technology businesses County Durham is setting a high bar. The team showcased why Durham is a great place for businesses to locate – companies like radio frequency (RF) communications specialist Filtronic. The company has ambitious plans to expand at NETPark where, since 2014, continuous innovation has seen the company grow its turnover, staff and footprint.
Marketing manager, Fin Farrelly, explained: ”County Durham has a lot to offer, not least in terms of finance such as capital grants, incentives and investment, along with access to a skilled workforce.
”Together with our own investment it has meant we have been able to expand our manufacturing and testing facilities, so we can produce larger quantities enabling us to win work with other companies, accelerating our plans for growth.
Filtronic is one of over 40 companies based at NETPark who together employ over 600 people from university spinouts, start-ups to more established companies. Durham is also home to a growing number of space sector businesses along with the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence (NESACoE), which has been instrumental in putting the county firmly on the intergalactic map.
Led by Business Durham, NESACoE, based at NETPark, was set up to deliver the region’s space strategy and has engaged with more than 700 organisations and helped companies secure more than £10m-worth of funding.
One of those companies is the RHEA Group, an internationally-renowned security and space engineering company, providing services to aerospace, security and defence companies across the world.
RHEA Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and UK Vice President, John Bone said: ”It is easier to expand here than in some areas of the UK with the graduate programmes, the room to physically grow the company footprint and access to resources and people. ”There is a very collaborative environment and we work closely with other space industry and hi-tech firms who complement what we do, to make things happen.”
County Durham has an ambition to build a successful, sustainable future promising a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle for all of its residents through access to good housing and employment. To achieve that ambition, £3.4 billion will be invested in creating jobs, attracting inward investment and building new homes.
Bigger projects include £200m for the development of Aykley Heads; £400m at Bishop Auckland; £58m for the NETPark phase 3 expansion; £200m at Riverside, Durham City and £44.5m at Jade Business Park, Murton.
It is expected that the investment will generate 30,000 new jobs by 2035 and see 25,992 new homes built by 2035.
With opportunities for companies already here and new ones looking to relocate or expand the event is an opportunity to shout about all the county has to offer.