Minister discusses NETPark expansion during visit

Plans for the expansion of a leading science park which would generate millions for the local economy were discussed during a government visit.

Victoria Atkins MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, visited The North East Technology Park (NETPark) at Sedgefield, one of the UK’s premier science parks.

During the visit, Minister Atkins met with Durham County Council Cabinet members and officials leading on the development of the site, as well as Sedgefield MP Paul Howell.

The visit included a tour of Kromek, a developer of high-performance radiation detection based at NETPark.

Also being discussed was the future and development of the NETPark site, following the recent commencement of work on its phase three £62m expansion which, when complete, has potential to create 1,250 skilled jobs and to be worth £625m to the local economy over the next ten years.

Plans were also discussed for a fourth phase of the park, with potentially more to follow, with additional land designated for development that would take the number of jobs at the site to between 3,000 and 4,000.

Cllr Richard Bell, deputy leader of Durham County Council and Cabinet member for finance, said: “We were pleased to welcome Minister Atkins to County Durham to showcase the industry-leading businesses we have based here at NETPark, and the incredible potential this site has for growth on top of the significant economic benefits it has already generated.

“The new phase of what is the region’s premier science park will include up to 232,000 square feet of new laboratory, office and production space covering an initial seven hectares of land with an additional 44 hectares designated as further development. It will provide facilities for existing tenants to expand and to enable future inward investment.

“As well as the potential 1,250 new direct jobs, the expansion stands to provide an additional 2,200 in the supply chain. Skilled jobs will be created across a broad range of specialties, such as scientists, technicians, administration, accounting, marketing, IT and logistics.

“This site puts County Durham on the map as a place of growth and innovation, in what we hope will be strengthened further if it becomes a government Investment Zone in the future. The upcoming North East devolution deal will also further secure our position for investment, attracting even more world-leading industries to the county and bringing with it economic benefits and the creation of jobs.”

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Victoria Atkins, said: “NETPark and the companies operating here, such as Kromek, are a fantastic example of what can be achieved through hard work, innovation and targeted support, and I leave feeling truly inspired.

“Growing the economy remains one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities, and I am determined that leading companies have our backing to thrive and help level up the UK.”