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£60m investment could create 1,600 jobs in Sunderland
Legal & General has agreed a deal with Sunderland City Council to invest £60m in a regeneration scheme that could create around 1,600 new jobs in Sunderland.
The investment will see the 25 hectare Hillthorn Park site in Washington transformed into a manufacturing hub. It will be Sunderland City Council’s second major regeneration partnership with Legal & General, following L&G’s £100m commitment to invest in Riverside Sunderland in 2019.
The two-phased development plan, which is subject to planning consent, will see Legal & General develop a total of around 620,000 sq ft of industrial space over nine new commercial buildings. Each development will be funded, procured and delivered by Legal & General, before being marketed to a range of occupiers who will create new jobs for local people. Designed to support the needs of industrial, storage and distribution businesses in the area and support economic growth, it complements the nearby International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a tremendous step forward in our strategy to supercharge the city economy and a massive vote of confidence from Legal & General that will rapidly accelerate our plans for Hillthorn Park.
“We listen to our residents and this deal reflects that. We have worked with partners to ensure that this site is developed in a way that creates the greatest economic advantage for the city, and this is a deal that will deliver new job opportunities for local people and attract more businesses to Sunderland.”
Paul Edwards, director of asset management at LGIM Real Assets, a division of Legal & General Investment Management, added: “As a business, we have a strong track record of working in closely with local councils and communities to invest in and deliver important infrastructure and regeneration which responds to the needs of the local area, and which enables long term job creation. We believe that these latest plans will transform the Hilthorn Park area in terms of creating jobs which will be essential for the local economy in the post Covid-19 recovery phase.”
The move will accelerate the transformation of the Washington site, part of which has already been designated Enterprise Zone status, identified by the government and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in 2012 as key locations for new economic development.
The status brought with it major investment – through funding from central government, the North East LEP and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – in new infrastructure and enabling works, which will enable the rapid delivery of the development, ensuring Hillthorn is ready for immediate economic development.
Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East LEP, said: “Hillthorn Park is ideally situated, with the infrastructure and connections in place to enable this exciting new development to hit the ground running and in turn attract more businesses to the North East. As the North East works together to grow its economy after the impact of Covid-19, and we continue to take steps towards achieving our goal of creating 100,000 more and better jobs, the news of another Legal & General’s investment in the region is a welcome boost.”
The new plans replace previous proposals to develop a waste to energy site at Hillthorn Park.