Multi-million pound funding agreed to improve Ashington business park

An aerial view of Ashwood Business Park
An aerial view of Ashwood Business Park -Credit:AIRFOTOS

Councillors in Northumberland have agreed a multi-million pound funding deal to invest in a major business park.

An additional £2.5 million will be pumped into the Ashwood Business Park near Ashington, on top of £3.4 million already agreed. The money will be used to improve utility supplies and infrastructure.

Ashwood is designated as an enterprise zone, which provides tax breaks and Government support businesses as well as a simplified planning system. It is hoped that the Ashington site - already home to advanced paint plant Akzo Nobel - will create up to 1,105 jobs.

Speaking at Tuesday's meeting of the council's cabinet, deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth outlined the plans for the land, which is partially owned by the council's arms-length development company Advance Northumberland.

He said: "This is about developing that lands acquired by Advance to make sure we get it into proper economic use. There is already some good progress being made with a petrol filling station and a few other buildings put in.

"The next stage is putting in all the infrastructure to ensure we can get it filled up and creating jobs. The cost is £2.3 million to complete the works, its a very significant investment."

Among the improvements will be the installation of signals at the A189 Spine Road roundabout to improve traffic flow - something that has been demanded for some time. There will also be upgrades to the site's power supply to improve reliability.

Coun Wearmouth explained that while he could not reveal any potential users for the site, discussions were ongoing.

He added: "I won't go into potential users because of commercial sensitivities, but Advance and the council are making good progress in discussions with a couple of significant investments on that site that will help to deliver that significant number of jobs."

The work will be funded by loans from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, paid back via the increased business rates that will come from the site.

Council leader Glen Sanderson added: "It's very important that we continue to support all the really good work that Advance are doing. I'm quite sure we will see development work soon.

"It is important we take this step to make it an even more attractive site. This is really good news."