Riverside’s £27million development 2,500 jobs boost

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A RIVERSIDE development worth £27million will secure and generate a total of 2,500 jobs.

The revamp of Freeman’s Reach, which includes the dilapidated ice rink which was once home to Durham Wasps, will bring new offices, homes, shops and restaurants to the banks of the Wear.

Leaders of the Durham Riverside Renewal project say they aim to safeguard and create in excess of 2,500 jobs as part of their work.

The development will see workers from National Savings and Investments (NS&I) relocate from Milburngate House, on the opposite side of the water, to a new office to be built on the brownfield site.

The first phase of the programme will secure and create a total of 800 jobs during the next three years.

Freeman’s Reach will also feature a small restaurant, cafe and kiosk, with those behind the scheme sure they will give those visiting the city a better experience, particularly those who arrive by coach and step off in The Sands area.

They also say the buildings’ design and construction techniques will be sympathetic to the city’s World Heritage Site and become one of the most carbon-friendly in the UK.

The new NS&I office, and the wider Freeman’s Reach development, will include the innovative use of sustainable energy including electricity generated on site through hydro-power.

A water turbine electricity generator will produce enough electricity to power the NS&I office, which will enable it to become virtually carbon neutral, with the remainder of the development to be 75 per cent carbon neutral.

The water turbine will be housed in an energy centre, which will link the site of a historic water mill to the new technology.

As a planning application progresses, the consortium behind it, Carillion Developments, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP, is asking for views on the designs.

An exhibition will run on Friday, June 29, from noon until 8pm on the Burlison Gallery in the Town Hall to give shoppers and businesses a chance to view the first phase of the proposals.

They will also be able to see the details online at www.durhamriversiderenewal.co.uk which has been set up to keep people up-to-date.

Allan Cook, managing director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “In addition to maintaining NS&I’s presence in Durham and securing and creating hundreds of jobs in the city, this project will also open up the riverside to the public giving better access to Durham’s signature landmarks and amenities.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham