SUNDERLAND’S Future Technologies Centre has been given the official Government seal of approval.
Communities and Local Government Minister Baroness Stowell visited the new development, next to the Turbine Business Park, as part of a whistle-stop tour of the region hosted by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
During her tour of the centre, she met representatives from firms that have made it their home, including Smith Electric Vehicles, Hyperdrive Innovation, Tadea and ELM EV.
“The centre is really impressive,” she said. “The thing that I have picked up on during my visit is the enthusiasm and the drive that there is among everybody to expand on what is already happening here. You have got technology and research and development all under one roof.”
LEP chairman Paul Woolston accompanied the Baroness on her tour, which also took in the new Neptune’s Yard Enterprise Zone and the £7million Neptune National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering, at Shepherd Offshore, on the North Bank of the Tyne.
She also visited automotive components manufacturer Mecaplast, in Peterlee, which has recently expanded its factory and doubled its workforce from 85 to 180, to handle significant new contracts from Nissan.
“Each of the sites on the Baroness’s tour has been selected to showcase key industries in the North East,” said Mr Woolston.
“It’s vitally important that politicians in London are aware of the difference these types of developments are making to the region’s economy.
“Mecaplast is among a number of initiatives to grow jobs that the LEP has financially supported.
“Investment of £1.9million from the LEP and the Regional Growth Fund allowed the company to buy new equipment and create more space for new employment.
“We should be proud of initiatives like this and the region’s position at the forefront of the low carbon vehicle and oil, gas and offshore sectors.
These are all industries which will support the region’s economic growth.”