Guy Marsden is the founding director of Highbridge Properties, the company tasked with  developing the brand-new Jade Business Park, just off the A19 at Murton in County Durham. The site is owned by Durham County Council and managed by Business Durham

Here Guy tells us more about the new business location and what we can expect to see over the coming months.

What is Jade Business Park?

Jade Business Park is a 55-acre employment site that is changing the industrial landscape of East Durham in a big way. The first phase of the site was officially completed in August providing 155,000 sq ft of brand-new speculative space said to be perfect for growing businesses working in distribution, technology and advanced manufacturing.

Has the development been affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, work on site was still completed on schedule and one tenant has already moved in. Additionally, there are several enquiries in the pipeline from businesses keen to move onto the business park, located on the former Hawthorn Colliery and Cokeworks site. It’s clear that whilst still in the early days of development, Jade Business Park is firmly establishing itself as a key employment location on the North East landscape.

Tell us about the first tenant on the park?

Japanese corporation Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe (SEWS-E) has chosen Jade as the ideal location for it to implement its ambitious plans for growth.

SEWS-E produces and distributes automotive wiring harnesses, fuse boxes, connectors, and cables throughout Europe. With a turnover in excess of €700m and over 20,000 employees in Europe, it is part of the Sumitomo family of companies which was founded in Japan over 400 years ago and now operates in 65 countries.

Why do you think Jade is attracting so much interest?

As well as exceptional transport links and an ideal position just off the A19 with Sunderland, a major advantage of the park is its Enterprise Zone status, offering occupiers a rates benefit of up to £275,000 over five years.

How has the park been funded?

The construction of the new industrial units has been made possible by an investment of £14m from Durham County Council. This investment is part of Durham County Council and Business Durham’s strategy to create an environment where businesses can thrive, providing the right infrastructure and support needed to help them get back on track.

Additional support for highway and infrastructure works has come from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) and the Highways Agency. It will help fund a programme of works to increase the capacity of the A19/A182 junctions serving the business park, which will allow for future growth.

What can we expect over the coming months?

We’ll be working behind the scenes to secure further tenants and are hopeful that more positive announcements will be made in the coming months.

After what has undoubtably been a difficult year for everyone, we’re now look forward to the economy moving into the recovery phase and supporting businesses to grow and create jobs.  Welcoming our first tenant to Jade Business Park marks a major milestone in a project that will bring high-value manufacturing businesses, new jobs and sustainable economic growth to a premier area for businesses to thrive.