Business park’s decade of desolation could soon be over

The sites of Jade Business Park, formerly known as Hawthorn Business Park, in Murton.
The sites of Jade Business Park, formerly known as Hawthorn Business Park, in Murton.

The first businesses could finally be up and running by this time next year on a business park plot which has stood empty since work first began a decade ago.

Work on Jade Business Park, behind Dalton Park in Murton, began in 2007 and was finished in 2011 with the completion of what was then known as the East Durham Link Road.

The road to what will become Jade Business Park at Murton, taken from the A19/A182 junction.

The road to what will become Jade Business Park at Murton, taken from the A19/A182 junction.

Now, after a number of false starts, the new team behind it says environmental studies have been finished and now plan to carry out further investigations to confirm there are good ground conditions.

This will mean work can then begin on constructing any buildings for businesses which sign up to move in without delay.

Highbridge Properties Ltd has been appointed by Durham County Council to run the project and it believes tapping into the Nissan supply chain could be the key to its success.

It suggests the land could become home to manufacturing and distribution companies, with its location 10 miles from the Nissan plant, proximity to the A19, Port of Tyne and Teesport, train stations, Newcastle International Airport and neighbouring shopping centre listed as its benefits.

It will help to provide employment opportunities for the people of East Durham and beyond.

Grahame Morris

It also says the local workforce, enterprise zone status and the potential size of buildings, which could be complete by the last quarter of 2018, go in its favour.

Highbridge says it is “confident we can provide a very compelling offer” to firms linked with Nissan’s production as well as the proposed International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which will be based further up the A19 on the border between Sunderland and South Tyneside.

It has signed up CBRE and HTA as agents to market the site nationally.

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director at Business Durham, said: “We are working with our development partner, Highbridge Properties, to support the building of new commercial property at Jade Business Park which will result in new jobs and opportunities.

Grahame Morris MP, Easington, on the road which will take traffic in and out of Jade Business Park.

Grahame Morris MP, Easington, on the road which will take traffic in and out of Jade Business Park.

“While there are no announcements at this point, Business Durham and Durham County Council are committed to assisting developments which can provide new manufacturing and distribution facilities on this key site and will look at all opportunities that come forward.”

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “I’m absolutely delighted and it’s been a long time since preparatory work was done on the site.

“The site has a lot of potential.

“It will help to provide employment opportunities for the people of East Durham and beyond.”

The site was formerly known as Hawthorn Business Park as it is where the area’s coke works, which shut in 1992, once stood.

The original plan was to link up the new road through the estate with the A182 south of Easington Lane and the B1285 west of Murton.

When the work first began, council chiefs with the then District of Easington Council said the whole scheme should be finished by 2009.

One of the proposals at that stage was for it to become home to a geothermal research centre.