Work has begun on a new £8m innovation centre at Central Park, Darlington, providing office space and laboratories.
The Council expect the development to support economic growth and job creation, while increasing the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
The project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, and the government’s Getting Building fund, as well as council funding.
The four-storey building will be operated by North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC), which runs the existing Business Central office space on Central Park, and construction work by contractors Willmott Dixon is due to be complete in August 2022.
Council leader, Heather Scott, said: ‘We have begun the exciting work of creating a modern and flexible workplace which will help businesses collaborate, innovate and grow. Our investment into this centre will increase opportunities for local businesses, create quality jobs and generate the momentum needed to help the local economy bounce back from the impacts of this pandemic.
‘It is a chance for Darlington to focus on entrepreneurship and business growth, and the centre is a fantastic opportunity for new and existing businesses looking for the combination of lab and office space which will sit well alongside the existing CPI Biologics and Teesside University Horizons buildings.’
Tees Valle Mayor, Ben Houchen, added: ‘I’m delighted that spades are now in the ground to make this new facility a reality, adding even more value to Central Park and Darlington, a town increasingly hitting the headlines.
‘CPI, Teesside University and its National Horizons Centre are already delivering world-leading research and innovation, helping us punch above our weight in the biosciences sector and make our mark locally, nationally and internationally.
‘This new space will deliver even more scope for growth in that sector, and many more, in turn creating more good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people which – as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic – is more important than ever.’
In related news, Wirral Growth Company has received planning approval for two new office developments in Birkenhead, marking the first phase of a wider regeneration project.
Photo supplied by Darlington Council