Blog: 19 September 2016Advanced manufacturing park plans are global opportunity to seize

I was delighted to see plans to bring an International Advanced Manufacturing Park to South Tyneside. Following last week’s announcement of the shelving of the North East Devolution Deal, this is much needed positive news for the region and its economy. These plans represent a fantastic opportunity for Sunderland and South Tyneside, clearly highlighting an opportunity of global proportions which could be a catalyst for significant economic growth in the area.

Both local authorities are seeking opinions on their joint venture initiative which would see the creation of a park aimed at attracting businesses from the automotive supply chain, low carbon and advanced manufacturing sectors. With this in mind, Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils suggest that the International Advanced Manufacturing Park could create more than 5,200 jobs and attract more than £300m of private investment, when it is expected to be completed in 2027.

I worked as lead planning advisor on the similar 100 acre Waverley Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) near Rotherham, which shows first-hand how this type of model can work to great effect and how the North East could benefit in terms of job creation. Since its launch, the Waverley AMP has led to the creation of more than 700 highly skilled jobs, and around 2,000 new jobs are yet to be created through further developments.

The Waverley AMP has grown steadily over the last ten years and is now a recognised hub of advanced manufacturing capabilities – hosting the likes of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing; Rolls-Royce, and Castings Technology International. Not only has this contributed to employment opportunities for the area, but these organisations have attracted supply chain industries that benefit from the way manufacturing has clustered in this specific area.

I think this would be the ideal opportunity for Sunderland and South Tyneside International Advanced Manufacturing Park to build on its existing automotive manufacturing prowess. Along with Nissan, the area is already home to global names such as Calsonic Kansei Ltd, Re-Tek Ltd and Vantec Europe Ltd.

It’s pleasing to see that the Government has already recognised the proposed park as a national catalyst for economic growth. This has resulted in it being designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), a status that it requires single development consent as opposed to planning permission.

As the first commercial NSIP that is likely to be brought forward under the NSIP consenting regime I, together with developers and local authorities throughout the UK, will be following the scheme’s progress with interest!


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International Advanced Manufacturing Park, Tyneside, Sunderland