Sunderland’s new ‘green’ business park is driving ahead

From left, James Wharton, Coun Paul Watson, Vantec's Martin Kendall, and Paul Woolston at the Vantec site.
From left, James Wharton, Coun Paul Watson, Vantec's Martin Kendall, and Paul Woolston at the Vantec site.
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Sunderland’s new Low Carbon Enterprise Zone takes a step closer to becoming a reality today.

Infiniti Drive, the arterial road at Hillthorn – Sunderland’s newest business park – will be officially opened this morning.

Infiniti Drive opens up Hillthorn Business Park for businesses that will be attracted to this site close to the A1 and A19 and next to Nissan.

Coun Paul Watson

The 830-metre stretch of road is the first phase of the highway to be completed for Sunderland’s A19 Ultra Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, which aims to create more than 3,000 jobs and provide about 140,000sqm of commercial space by 2037.

The £21million infrastructure project to upgrade the highways in and around the Enterprise Zone, and the wider industrial area around Nissan, has been supported by investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the North East Local Enterprise Partnership via the Growing Places Fund; a provisional allocation of £5.95m from the Government’s Growing Places Fund (LGF) and Sunderland City Council, the landowner of Hillthorn Business Park.

Work began on the infrastructure project at the start of 2015 by contractor Esh Group, and included diverting and installing utility supplies to service the new business park.

Car parts giant Vantec announced last year it was to create more than 100 new jobs by building its third Wearside warehouse on the new business park.

Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton joined Vantec Europe managing director Martin Kendall, Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson and North East LEP chairman Paul Woolston at the site for the announcement.

Coun Watson, who will be opening Infiniti Drive with Nissan plant boss Kevin Fitzpatrick, said: “This has been a challenging project to complete in such a short timescale, but everyone has pulled out all the stops to ensure we met the deadline.

“Infiniti Drive opens up Hillthorn Business Park for businesses that will be attracted to this site close to the A1 and A19 and next to Nissan.”

The road is named after the Infiniti Q30, which began production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant last month.