UP to 1,000 jobs could be created at Nissan’s Wearside plant after it won “significant” Government investment.
The Japanese car giant was one of 50 firms nationally to benefit in the £450million first round of Regional Growth Fund (RGF) backing, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today.
A spokesman said: “Nissan and the UK Government have been in discussions regarding a number of potential projects which could be sourced to the Nissan Sunderland plant in the future.
“Government backing via the Regional Growth Fund could help to support these projects as we continue to develop our business case over the coming year. Details of these projects remain commercially confidential.”
Other successful bids were by Seaham-based Cumbrian Seafoods; electronic manufacturing services provider Connor Solutions, in Houghton; and Durham County Cricket Club – which will build a 150-bed hotel, 2,000-seat theatre and skills academy.
The £1.4billion RGF is designed to encourage enterprise and jobs in the private sector, and support areas and communities that are dependent on the public sector.
It is hoped the scheme will help to narrow the north-south economic divide, as 13,500 jobs would be created from 14 North East firms benefiting from the first round of grants, compared to just one from the South East.
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “NECC is delighted that this investment is going to business-led initiatives, that are focused on company growth and creating sustainable employment.
“The projects that have won backing are at the core of the region’s economic strengths and future growth areas, which is extremely positive.”
Connor Solutions, of Gadwall Road, will uses its RGF cash to design and build new manufacturing space on 1.2 acres of undeveloped industrial land.
Cumbrian Seafoods, at Foxcover Enterprise Park, will put its undisclosed share of the cash towards the £7million cost of converting an existing 130,000 square feet of storage space into a new manufacturing plant.
The development will highlight the firm’s commitment to using green energy, being largely powered by wind, photovoltaic cells and gas from anaerobic digestion.
Chief executive Peter Vassallo said: “This builds on a number of initiatives that we have undertaken over the last four years to reduce our carbon footprint.
“It will be a first within our industry and highlights the importance that we attach to the environment, and builds on our many years of promoting sourcing fish from responsibly managed fisheries.”
The bid came from a public-private sector partnership between Cumbrian Seafoods and County Durham Development Corporation, whose managing director Stewart Watkins said: “It’s very satisfying to see one of County Durham’s flagship companies being recognised and supported in this way.”