September 25, 2008

New Developments and New Jobs

By Karen McLauchlan

Apounds 100m development at Darlington's Lingfield Point is set to create up to 1,200 homes and a workplace for thousands of employees.

A major planning application has now been submitted by owners Marchday for the eco-friendly scheme, which will complete the regeneration of the site.

Once the largest wool-manufacturing plant in Europe, the site has been transformed in the last six years with the conversion of more than 250,000sq ft of factory space. Around 2,000 people work at the site.

Marchday carried out a major, local public consultation exercise which shaped the plans submitted to Darlington Council.

The mixed-use low energy development will:

Make extensive use of green technologies;

Create a sustainable community, incorporating public elements including health, sport and community facilities;

Include housing with a substantial element of affordable housing, and

Include offices, housing, sport and leisure and will enable hundreds of people to live where they work - reducing transport requirements.

Existing buildings, including the iconic former power station, The Powerhouse, will be re-used.

And a public art strategy, including an outdoor performance space and exhibition space in The Powerhouse, is planned.

The site will harness green technologies such as wind and solar power, along with rainwater harvesting to reduce the impact on the environment. Additionally, there are plans to install a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, for efficient creation of heat and electricity to use in homes and businesses.

John Orchard, director of Marchday said: "A major public consultation exercise with a series of public meetings and exhibitions was carried out allowing local people to view and discuss the plans. As a result of their input, our proposals now include affordable eco homes, a medical centre for doctors and dentists, public allotments and an outdoor performance space as well as the public sport facilities already anticipated.

"This is a very exciting time for Lingfield Point and Darlington."

PLANS to develop the area's airport are forging ahead.

Visitors to Durham Tees Valley Airport should soon be able to spend the night in a new pounds 8.5m hotel.

Peel Holdings has submitted plans for the 100-bed hotel to be built just 300 metres from the terminal building. Peel is one of three companies currently applying to build hotels near to the airport.

Its three-star hotel will have a bar, restaurant and meeting rooms and 106 parking spaces.

Peter de la Perrelle, director of Peel Holdings (Leisure), said: "The hotel will represent a quality addition to the airport's facilities and we look forward to being part of the successful development of DTVA in the years to come."

Kerry Quinn, Durham Tees Valley Airport director, said: "Passengers enjoy both the opportunity to sleep on the airport's doorstep before an early morning flight and also having a room to sleep in if they arrive late at night from a flight, and this new facility will complement opportunities at the airport and the surrounding area."

The hotel will operate under a franchise agreement with an international brand, to be announced shortly.

It will be Peel's third airport hotel, following on from the 103- room Ramada Encore at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, which opens in November, and a new 160-room hotel at Liverpool John Lennon Airport due to open in spring next year.

The 19-bedroom Spa Hotel and the 59-bedroom St George Hotel can already be found within the wider airport complex area.

But travellers could soon be spoilt for choice as Darlington Council is also considering planning applications for two other hotels.

Northcare already has outline planning permission to build an 80- bed hotel near to the airport.

And an application to build a 130-bed Hilton hotel on the site of the vacant Lancaster House building was submitted earlier this year. The four-storey building would be under the Hampton by Hilton brand which claims to provide "a new kind of economy hotel" and would offer 134 parking spaces.

The airport is one of Tees Valley Regeneration's key areas for development and plans have already been announced for the Skylink International Business Park.

The pounds 110m industrial development is to generate around 2,000 jobs and attract massive inward investment.

The Skylink estate will comprise predominantly large-scale industrial and distribution centres on a 250-acre site to the south of the airport.

Meanwhile, the owner of Durham Tees Valley Airport is considering a joint bid for Gatwick Airport, which has been put up for sale by BAA.

Peel Airports Group has been invited to form a consortium to bid for the pounds 1.8bn-valued London gateway, which became available following the Competition Commission's plans to break BAA's monopoly of the UK aviation market.

Meanwhile, Durham Tees Valley Airport is still in discussions with budget carrier flyglobespan over its summer 2009 flight schedule, which is expected to be announced "shortly".

DARLINGTON construction firm Cleveland Bridge is adding 300 new staff to its workforce in the next 12 months after winning two contracts with a combined value of pounds 100m.

Cleveland Bridge has scooped a pounds 50m order to carry out steelwork and metal decking on the iconic Shard of Glass - London's new super-tall skyscraper.

It has also won a contract to supply up to 20,000 tonnes of steel for the extension of the M74 around south-east Glasgow.

The work will enable Cleveland Bridge to boost turnover from pounds 45m to pounds 70m this year and create other jobs across Teesside's engineering supply chain.

Managing director Brian Rogan hailed the deals as a triumph of his skilled workforce and was "confident" of securing contracts of a similar scale before the end of the year.

The company already employs around 600 staff from its Darlington manufacturing base.

Specialising in the design and construction of major bridges and landmark structures, it has worked on iconic buildings including the Humber Bridge in East Yorkshire and Australia's famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Current projects include work on two state-of-the-art drilling rigs at the Haverton Hill shipyard - said to be the biggest non- military fabrication project in the country.

Commissioned by SeaDragon Offshore, the rigs will be used to drill for gas and oil at depths of up to 10,000 ft in locations such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Cleveland Bridge is also working on the fabrication and erection of Stockton's newest bridge.

The pounds 15m footbridge, linking Teesdale and North Shore, is currently taking shape. The new structure will be illuminated at night and is expected to carry 4,000 people across the river each day when it is completed at the end the year.

Cleveland Bridge has also been involved in the major construction project to replace the A66 Surtees Bridge.

DARLINGTON is also set to play its part in the world's largest public art initiative.

Tees Valley Giants will be a series of five world-class art installations by internationally acclaimed sculptor Anish Kapoor and leading structural designer Cecil Balmond.

The first installation - Temenos - will be located at the north- eastern corner of Middlesbrough Dock at Middlehaven. Costing pounds 2.7m, it will be a staggering 110m in length and almost 50m high.

Sculptures will also be installed at Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland, adding up to the biggest public art project anywhere in the world.

All five pieces are expected to be completed within 10 years. The project, being led by Tees Valley Regeneration, represents a pounds 15m investment in the region.

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