Plans for a major expansion at NETPark in Sedgefield, which could create more than 1,250 jobs and add a £625m boost to the local economy, look set to progress.
The park, which opened in 2004, is home to more than 40 science and technology companies and 600 staff including Kromek, Filtronic, IBEX Innovations and Polyphotonix.
A hybrid application, which will go before Durham County Council next week, outlines the expansion plans for a 38-acre parcel of land to the north-west of the existing development to form phase 3a of the project.
The full application comprises 200,510 sq ft of research and development floorspace split between five small and two medium sized two-storey units located on the southern part of the site.
The units would be designed to provide a flexible approach to manufacturing, warehouse and ancillary accommodation.
The outline element of the application comprises up to 213,362 sq ft of research and development floorspace and up to 29,062 sq ft of ancillary floorspace.
It is expected that all buildings would be up to two storeys in height, with the exception of a hub building which could be up to three storeys.
The application forms part of The Durham County Council plan 2020 – 2023 which includes the ambition “to create more and better jobs” by supporting businesses emerging from lockdown, and by developing investment plans at major employment sites.
The proposed scheme is expected to generate up to 1,250 jobs, with a further 2,200 in the supply chain.
The council’s cabinet has already supported the development and agreed to invest £49.6m to finance the first phase of the expansion providing up to 270,000 sq ft of new laboratory, office, production and storage space.
A planning statement accompanying the application said: “The success of NETPark is such that expansion space is needed so that companies can reach their potential. Space at NETPark is currently at a premium, with 100 per cent of the available laboratory, office and clean room accommodation currently occupied or reserved by science, engineering and technology companies.”
It added: “The masterplan seeks to create a holistic campus environment defined by exceptionally high- quality, distinctive and flexible buildings set in a pedestrian friendly parkland environment. The masterplan includes a range of unit sizes to meet occupier requirements, a hub building, ancillary facilities, landscaping, sustainable drainage systems and parking.”
The planning application is set to go before Durham planning committee on Tuesday 1 March with the recommendation for approval.
News source: Insider Media North East.