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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Business park boost for jobs
viasystems
The area suffered major job losses at some firms
A business park capable of creating up to 17,000 jobs is set to become the largest office development in the UK.

Cobalt Business Park in North Tyneside already occupies 90 acres but the acquisition of a large development plot from electronics giant Atmel will hand the site 2.25 million square feet of commercial space.

The Wallsend site is already home to firms such as Orange, Fujitsu, Lancaster Group and Procter & Gamble.

However, ambitious plans for the site include a £12.5 million upgrade of local public transport by 2004.


The securing of this additional area for Cobalt is an exciting prospect

Guy Marsden

A kerb guided bus system will provide a link from Cobalt to the Tyneside Metro System and directly to Newcastle city centre.

In addition, plans for a second A19 Tyne Tunnel crossing are well advanced.

A £13 million, 127-bedroom De Vere Village Hotel and Leisure Club opened on Cobalt in the summer, and is the first dedicated hotel facility on an office park in the UK.

Planning consent has been secured for a crèche and retail facilities, with work due to begin next month.

The latest land deal was co-ordinated by Highbridge Business Park Ltd with cash from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Guy Marsden, director of Highbridge Business Park, said: "The securing of this additional area for Cobalt is an exciting prospect as it reinforces Cobalt as the UK's premier office location.

"The extension of the site has been a long held aim for Highbridge and underlines our commitment to the site and the region as a whole.

"Our success at Cobalt has been achieved by our strategic approach to creating an attractive environment, good public transport communications links into an available, competitively priced labour pool, together with good quality offices.

"The addition of the Atmel site will allow us to continue this approach and provide the complete business destination with first class facilities."

Attracting jobs

The development has brought major economic stability to North Tyneside at a time when the manufacturing sector - previously the lifeblood of the local economy - has been struggling.

Mass redundancies have been announced, including the decision by Viasystems to axe its workforce in North and South Tyneside.

Chris Morgan, elected mayor of North Tyneside Council, said: "The borough prides itself on attracting high-quality investment and jobs into the region.

"Our partners are once again showing their entrepreneurial skills and we are delighted to be a in position to support them."


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24 Sep 02 | England
21 Sep 01 | Business
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