WEARSIDE MATTERS: Business leaders back new manufacturing park plan off A19

The signing of the Sunderland and South Tyneside City Deal. From left, NELEP chairman Paul Woolston, Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, Cities Minister Greg Clark and Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council.
The signing of the Sunderland and South Tyneside City Deal. From left, NELEP chairman Paul Woolston, Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, Cities Minister Greg Clark and Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council.
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Business leaders from across the region are throwing their weight behind a nationally significant development that could create more than 5,000 jobs.

Bosses of businesses and membership organisations across Sunderland and South Tyneside have spoken about the impact that the proposed International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) will have on their respective areas.

Speaking on behalf of Sunderland Business Partnership, an organisation made up of more than 50 leading businesses from the city and further afield, Gary Hutchinson, who is chair of the Sunderland Committee of the North East England Chamber welcomed plans for the IAMP, which would see an area of land close to Nissan transformed into a huge manufacturing facility.

Mr Hutchinson said: “IAMP is a hugely significant opportunity for the North East and one that will absolutely transform my home-city of Sunderland and neighbouring South Tyneside.

“The economic boost this could bring would be felt locally and regionally, and as chair of both Sunderland Business Partnership and the North East England Chamber, I think I speak for members in saying that this would be incredible for everyone, and would create a more prosperous place that would cement Nissan’s contribution to the city, creating a fully developed eco-system. We’re right behind the development and will do all that we can to support it.”

Siemens plant director, Des Young, has also added his support to IAMP.

The Hebburn-based business boss said that he believes the area is already in the midst of a manufacturing renaissance and that this new development would secure the sustainability of the sector in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

He said: “The rate of development of the manufacturing sector in the North East has been absolutely fantastic, and it is generating huge economic gains, but we need to do all that we can as an area to build on that strong foundation, and capitalize on the huge opportunities created by firms like Nissan and indeed our own business, Siemens.

“Developments of the scale of IAMP come along once in a generation, and it is critical that the business and wider community gets behind this, and shapes the vision for it, to ensure we fully capitalize a place that will be the home of many thousands of jobs for years to come.”

The 100-hectare site, which sits between Sunderland and South Tyneside, is a stone’s throw from Nissan, and is expected to create more than 500 new jobs every year from 2019.

“South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils are working in partnership to deliver the joint development, which is expected to attract businesses in the automotive, energy, low carbon, logistics and offshore manufacturing fields.

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber echoed Mr Hutchinson’s comments.

He said: “The New Year will see progress on the IAMP ramp up a notch, as work goes on behind the scenes to create a clear plan for the development.

“This really is an unprecedented opportunity for the region, and one that we must grasp to ensure that Nissan in Sunderland is absolutely supported and sustainable.”

Consultation is under way for IAMP – a development set to unlock over £300million of private sector investment into the region – and it is due to run until January 16, during which time residents and businesses are encouraged to attend roadshow events taking place across Sunderland and South Tyneside and to submit their feedback online.

A further more detailed consultation process will take place in early Spring 2017.

Paul Butler, chief executive officer of the North East Automotive Alliance, believes that the IAMP will provide a catalyst for major growth in the automotive sector.

He said: “IAMP will provide the necessary infrastructure, on land with immediate access to Nissan, to enable the region to maximise the growth potential of the sector.

“It will enjoy unrivalled access to the Nissan, as well as providing almost immediate access to major trunk road, the A19, as well as easy access to the A1 to enable suppliers to serve the wider UK market and through our excellent ports the export markets. It’s a hugely exciting development and one that could deliver the sustainable sector we all want.”

To find out more visit iampnortheast.com