Former coal site could contribute millions to UK economy

Posted on 11 Jun 2018 by Jonny Williamson

More than 150 acres of reclaimed brownfield land the North East has the potential to become a key strategic industrial zone and contribute millions to the regional economy, according to Harworth Group.

More than 150 acres of a former coal site has the potential to contribute millions to the regional economy.

Previously used as a coal stock yard for UK Coal, the site at Wardley, South Tyneside, is within a zoned area associated with the proposed International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

The site spans land in Sunderland and South Tyneside.  A planning application for phase one of IAMP has recently been approved.

Harworth’s Wardley site could according to the company extend IAMP’s reach even further in terms of providing a key logistical base for organisations operating within the automotive and manufacturing supply chain or providing services to the likes of Nissan.

The land has planning permission for rail connected uses including container storage and mineral stocking and consent for a renewable energy plant. It is home to existing tenants including Costain and Container Sales UK.

It offers direct access to main transport links including the A1 and A19 and is currently being used to store circa 90,000m3 of construction materials transported daily from the new road infrastructure network at Silverlink, North Tyneside. This is intended to be used for future improvements to Testos roundabout near Boldon.

Additionally, and uniquely in comparison to other potential regeneration sites in the North East, Wardley also boasts its own rail connection, namely The Leamside Line, providing direct access to the Port of Sunderland to the south and the Port of Tyne to the north.

The line has, more recently, been the subject of discussion to reopen the track, and this for potential investors and manufacturing organisations looking for a strategic site, could be significant.

As one of the UK’s leading regeneration companies, Harworth has a successful track record transforming sites like Wardley and Lynefield Park into strategic business zones.

Lynefield Park at Lynemouth, Northumberland, is the former Alcan aluminium smelter site and currently one of the largest brownfield projects in the North East with planning permission for 1.3m sq ft of development.

It is being seen as the masterplan for growth in an area where the closure of traditional manufacturing and coal mining industries has had a significant impact on the local economy and surrounding communities.

Furthermore, Harworth’s flagship Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley, Rotherham, a former colliery site, has attracted leading commercial occupiers following redevelopment such as Rolls Royce, Boeing and McLaren Automotive as well as national homebuilders.

However, one of the many challenges facing the industry as a whole is a rise in construction costs across the board meaning that in certain areas and for many companies, schemes may be temporarily delayed, put on hold or even shelved.

This is partly due to a lack of available labour, developments being constructed on a speculative basis without anchor tenants being secured beforehand or a real lack of demand for commercial space in those locations.

Furthermore, Harworth works alongside existing commercial tenants to enable growth in terms of expansion and new employment opportunities.

Lynx Precast, a UK manufacturer and installer of precast concrete flooring systems based at Lynefield Park, has, through new investment opportunities and increased accommodation, seen staff numbers rise by a staggering 800% from six employees in 2014 to 48 in 2018.