Making Northumberland An Even Better Place To Live And Work

Issue 98

Advance Northumberland is the regeneration, physical delivery and business support vehicle delivering regeneration throughout Northumberland on behalf of Northumberland County Council.

Its unique, joined-up approach combines the ability to build homes with support for inward investment and business growth, and the ability to deliver regeneration and investment projects.

Here’s a snapshot of what it accomplished in 2023… and what’s in store for the future.

A greener future

Centred around the Blyth Estuary, Energy Central is the premier UK deep water base for businesses working across renewable energy, offshore wind, subsea engineering, decommissioning and energy storage.

It’s a partnership between Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, Northumberland County Council and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and has brought green jobs and investment to Northumberland.

Indeed, Advance Northumberland played a key role in attracting global subsea cable supplier and servicer JDR Cable Systems, to the Northumberland Energy Park site at Cambois – which is part of the Energy Central cluster. Work progressed through 2023 on the £130 million factory, which is due to become operational this year and will be situated next to a widened dock – part of the site’s infrastructure improvements.

With greater investment in the green economy, comes an increased demand for skills. And a new facility at Energy Central, The Energy Central Learning Hub, will help to meet that demand.

This £13.6 million facility, which is set to open in 2024, will deliver STEM education and vocational and work-based learning. It is being delivered as part of the £90 million Energising Blyth Programme funded by the UK Government, Northumberland County Council, and the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NCTA).

Small business support

Advance Northumberland recently launched a new programme – the Northumberland Small Business Service (NSBS) – to help businesses unlock the barriers to growth.

NSBS is one of the first UK Shared Prosperity Fund-supported initiatives to be rolled out and is one of the first projects to emerge from Northumberland County Council’s Rural Stewardship and Investment Strategy. It is backed by funding from the NCTA and the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Specialist enterprise and start-up support is available through the programme and eligible companies in rural areas can apply for a grant of between £10,000 to £300,000. The NSBS also includes a Farming Advisory Service, which is assisting farming businesses.

Boosting housing provision and building communities

Ascent Homes, Advance Northumberland’s housebuilding arm, has been active right across the county.

In 2023, the final properties within phases one and two at Ascent Homes’ Wayside Point development, comprising 196 homes, were completed. The third phase of 34 homes was launched last month and there’ll be a further 116 homes across phase four.

East Ord Vale near Berwick-upon-Tweed and Hareshaw Fall in Bellingham will be coming soon too. They will be joining sites such as Commissioners Quay in Blyth, Willow Farm site in Choppington, Kingsmead in Wooler and Allerburn Manor in Alnwick in the Ascent Homes portfolio.

Ascent Homes has also been working with housing association Bernicia to provide affordable housing.

Transforming towns

Want to know how Advance Northumberland is rejuvenating town centres? Just look at Blyth, where it is project managing the creation of a new Culture Hub. Funded by the Energising Blyth Programme, this will be part of a revitalised market place.

In Ashington, Advance Northumberland is leading on the transformation of Portland Park: a cinema and restaurant are planned for the site.

Advance Northumberland also project managed the build of Berwick Leisure Centre, which opened in 2023, and Morpeth Sports and Leisure Centre, which also opened last year and was ranked number one in the country by Sport England’s Quest quality assessment.

In addition, in 2023 Advance Northumberland took over the Town Centre Retail Project in Bedlington from Tolent, following the company’s demise, and recommenced work on the regeneration of the Market Place. The project has received £2 million from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which is managed in the region by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Looking ahead to 2024

Major infrastructure projects, community developments and private sector investments will come to fruition in 2024, which will have a transformational impact on the people of Northumberland.

And throughout this year, Advance Northumberland will be maximising on Northumberland’s opportunities through delivering economic growth and reducing inequalities.

Find out more at

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