Bid for new Investment Zone in County Durham submitted

A bid to create a new Investment Zone on two sites in County Durham has been submitted.

The government recently announced plans for the introduction of new Investment Zones across the country. The sites would have lower business taxes and time-limited tax incentives over a 10-year period.

Durham County Council has identified NETPark in Sedgefield, and Aykley Heads, in Durham City, as areas which could be appropriate for the scheme.

The government has proposed that businesses in Investment Zones will benefit from tax incentives on premises, National Insurance contributions, investments in equipment, and stamp duty.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Both NETPark and Aykley Heads have a clear focus on high value jobs and innovation. Investment Zone status could help to secure private investment and supply chain opportunities for other businesses in the county.

“Should the proposals get approval this would see a huge boost to our county’s economy, helping businesses to accelerate growth quicker and take on more staff.”

Commercially focused sites will need to demonstrate that the proposed Investment Zone will drive development on undeveloped land.

NETPark is one of the UK’s premier science, engineering and technology parks for the commercialisation of cutting-edge research and development from major international organisations, universities and entrepreneurs. The site is currently home to more than 30 innovative companies providing over 550 highly skilled jobs.

Phase Three of the site will see government support alongside investment from the council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Aykley Heads is managed by the council’s business support service Business Durham and is already home to a number of established businesses. It is proposed that the park will provide up to 400,000 square feet of floorspace and be divided into an initial two phases, covering six development plots which could accommodate 19 buildings.

The Investment Zones bid continues the council’s commitment to delivering jobs and growth across the county. It follows the submission of Levelling Up bids in the summer which includes support to unlock future phases of Integra 61 and the recent granting of planning permission for Phase Two of Jade Business Park in the east of the county.

The government is expected to announce later this year which Investment Zone bids it would like to progress to the next stage of development.