• Strategic sites to unlock business potential

    Strategic sites to unlock business potential

    Durham holds the key to commercial success – no matter what the business, which sector it operates in, or the size of the company.

    With a jigsaw of key strategic sites covering the county the potential to unlock success is there for everyone – those looking to relocate, invest, launch a start-up or grow an existing business.

    The sites are all backed by the advice and expertise of the County Council’s business support service, Business Durham, which provides the help companies need to turn plans into reality – delivering more and better jobs and millions of pounds in investment for the area.

    It is indeed all about location, location, location, as Durham’s transport infrastructure is a logistical dream with close links to the A1M, East Coast Main Line, two airports and two of the UK’s busiest ports.

    Aykley Heads Innovation District, Durham City

    Aykley Heads is a unique City Centre development site which is set to be the catalyst for the Durham City Innovation District.

    The new Innovation District, backed by Durham County Council and Durham University to create a ‘triple helix’ approach, will give businesses access to talent, research, networks, and resources within a setting that combines high-quality infrastructure and amenity with a strong community feel.

    The Durham City Incubator is already located at Aykley Heads, supporting university spins outs and high growth potential start-ups, and Durham County Council has significant experience of developing and growing knowledge-intensive clusters at NETPark, one of the UK’s premier science parks located nearby in Sedgefield  (insert hyperlink) where a third phase of development is due to start on site in summer 2023.

    The next development phase of the 60-hectare Aykley Heads will build on this experience to create a nationally significant Innovation District in the heart of Durham city. The first-class site will deliver high-quality office space and an innovation ecosystem that allows business to thrive. It will drive a step change in economic growth, providing 4,000 jobs, 38,468sqm commercial floorspace with a hybrid planning consent in place and is in complete ownership of Durham County Council.

    The East-Coast Mainline runs through the innovation district, with the Aykley Heads site within a few minutes walk of the railway station. It is served by the Cross Country, Trans-Pennine and East Coast mainlines providing excellent north-south, east-west connectivity, and accessible by car from the A1 in under 10 minutes.

    It is already home to established businesses such as Atom Bank and Waterstons Ltd, and is a short walk to the Milburngate development and the new Durham University Business School, making Aykley Heads a natural home for innovative and knowledge-rich businesses.

    The Aykley Heads site is ready to be taken to the market, and a delivery partner search will be launched in 2023.


    • Size: 60 hectares innovation district, with 15 hectares of development at Aykley Heads

    • Proposed master plan output: Hybrid planning is in place for 38,500 sq m of development

    • Site owner/partner: Durham County Council

    • Site requirements: Investors 

    • Address: Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5TS

    • Website: www.businessdurham.co.uk/aykley-heads-durham/

    • For more information please email peter.rippingale@durham.gov.uk

    The North East Technology Park (NETPark) Innovation District, Sedgefield

    One of the UK’s premier science, engineering, and technology parks. It provides the right mix of infrastructure, collaborative opportunities and support for science, engineering, and technology companies. NETPark supports innovative businesses at every stage of their journey from concept to commercialisation with a wide choice of world-class laboratory, clean room, and office space.

    NETPark is the only UK Science Park with three National Catapult Centres – The High Value Manufacturing Catapult, managed by CPI, the Satellite Applications Catapult through the Space Enterprise Lab and the North East Space Cluster development work, and the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.

    Companies located at NETPark have access to a focused and international community where talent flourishes, ideas are generated, and businesses have the infrastructure, support and resources to compete with the best in the world.

    NETPark is the only UK Science Park with three National Catapult Centres – The High Value Manufacturing Catapult, managed by CPI, the Satellite Applications Catapult through the Space Enterprise Lab and the North East Space cluster development work and the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

    CPI manage three national innovation centres on-site: The National Innovation Centre for Printable Electronics, The National Innovation Centre for Formulations and The National Innovation Centre for Healthcare Photonics.

    Durham University Orbit is also on-site providing easy access to facilities, academic expertise and PHD students for NETPark companies.

    NETPark is a premier UK Science Park which is set to be developed as an Innovation District. 

    The Innovation District, backed by Durham County Council and Durham University, will give businesses access to talent, research, networks, and resources within a setting that combines high quality infrastructure and amenity with a strong community feel.


    • Size: 10.5 hectares
    • Proposed master plan output: Design and build units up to 80,000 square feet and speculative options from 11,500 – 37,000 square feet
    • Site owner/partner: Durham County Council
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Thomas Wright Way, Sedgefield, County Durham, TS21 3FD
    • Website: www.northeasttechnologypark.com

    Forrest Park, Newton Aycliffe

    Forrest Park is a new 48-hectare site providing 1.7 million square feet of prime B1, B2 and B8 industrial floorspace. The development is fully serviced with a new signalised traffic junction and a 24M W substation. With planning permission in place, plans are proposed to bring forward an initial 830,000 square feet of speculative development.

    Specification includes 10 metre plus eaves, fully fitted offices, a secure yard and flexible design solutions.

    Forrest Park is located prominently on the A167 to the south of Aycliffe Business Park and immediately adjacent to junction 59 A1(M). Darlington lies approximately 6 miles to the South East and Durham 13 miles to the north.


    • Size: 48 hectares
    • Proposed master plan output: 1.7 million square feet of prime industrial floorspace, with an initial 830,000 square feet speculative development across 8 buildings with single units from 40,650 square feet up to 243,200 square feet 
    • Site owner/partner: Barberry and Richardson
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL1 3NL
    • Website: www.forrestpark.co.uk

    Connect at Integra 61, Bowburn

    Connect at Integra 61 is a new five-unit industrial/warehouse opportunity consisting of units from 43,000 to 297,500 square feet. This development is being built to an institutional specification totalling 639,460 square feet, with strong sustainability credentials including a target EPC Rating of ‘A’ and BREEAM ‘Excellent’. 

    With excellent access to international ports and airports and within a 20-minute drive of both Durham and Newcastle, the scheme is well located at Junction 61 of the A1 (M), allowing occupiers to benefit from County Durham’s workforce, which boasts almost double the level of industrial workers compared to the UK average. 

    Connect at Integra 61 combines accessibility and labour with proximity to 2.5 million consumers within a 60-minute drive, making it well positioned to serve manufacturers, e-commerce retailers, logistics and last mile delivery services.  


    • Size: 14 hectares 
    • Proposed master plan output: 639,460 square feet across five units ranging in size: 43,000 square feet, 63,000 square feet, 84,000 square feet, 151,960 square feet, and 297,500 square feet 
    • Site owner/partner: Sunrise Real Estate
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Bowburn, Durham DH6 5NP

    Jade Business Park, Seaham

    A premier location for distribution, technology and advanced manufacturing companies looking for premises to service their suppliers in the UK and the rest of the world.

    Phase one is now complete and fully let, with seven new industrial units totalling 155,000 square feet used for distribution, technology, and advanced manufacturing businesses. The next phase of development is being planned by Highbridge Properties, its Agents and Durham County Council.

    The North East location makes it the perfect base for companies involved in the automotive and construction supply chain. Situated just moments from the A19 and Dalton Park on the outskirts of Murton, in Seaham, County Durham within easy reach of Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle and the Tees Valley. Multi-modal transport provides access to the UK and beyond giving tenants the accessibility they need to do business not only in the North East but the rest of the UK and the world.

    The development has been made possible with almost £14 million of funding for highway and infrastructure works from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) and the Highways Agency. It has helped to fund a programme of works to increase the capacity of the A19/A182 junctions serving the business park, to allow for the continued growth of the site.


    • Size: 14 hectares remaining
    • Proposed master plan output: Proposed phase 2, units available from 20,000 square feet to 85,000 square feet. Proposed Phase 3, 250,000 square feet unit
    • Site owner/partner: Durham County Council/Highbridge Properties
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Spring Road, Murton, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 9DR
    • Website: www.jadebusinesspark.co.uk

    Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe

    A £90 million project, Merchant Park is a 65-acre development at Aycliffe Business Park on J59 of the A1(M). Home to one of the largest inward investment manufacturing developments in recent years, the 30-acre Hitachi Rail Europe train manufacturing facility which opened in September 2015. The location was selected by Hitachi from an initial shortlist of 42 sites following a UK wide search.

    Merchant Park has development plots extending to 25-acres (10.12 hectares), which will accommodate new buildings up to 350,000 square feet.

    Serviced plots are immediately available. Sustainable design and build solutions to meet occupier requirements for industrial, warehouse, office and other uses can be provided cost effectively and quickly. Bespoke buildings can be provided up to 11 metre eaves height, allowing up to 70% area savings on traditional warehouse buildings.

    Plot 1 – A 12-acre site to accommodate units of 50,000 square feet to 350,000 square feet. 

    Available as bespoke pre-lets or freehold turnkey packages. Located within a landscaped plot overlooking a lake and Hitachi’s UK train factory.

    Plot 2 – Known as Station Place is now complete, with ten new industrial starter units totalling 50,000 square feet, in individual sizes upwards of 3,500 square feet.

    Plot 3 – A 13-acre fully serviced site to accommodate manufacturing units from 150,000 square feet to 315,000 square feet.


    • Size: 10.12 hectares
    • Proposed master plan output: Industrial units up to 350,000 square feet 
    • Site owner/partner: Merchant Anglo
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Heighington Lane, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 6EF
    • Website: www.merchantpark.co.uk

    Milburngate, Durham City

    Located in Durham City, on the banks of the River Wear, Milburngate is a unique opportunity to take advantage of high-specification commercial property in the North East’s most prestigious development. Milburngate offers excellent connectivity, easily accessible by road and only a few minutes walk to Durham Bus Station and Durham Rail Station serving the East Coast Main Line. The area also benefits from Durham’s three Park and Ride hubs and cycling routes. 

    Milburngate offers brand-new Grade-A office space in the heart of Durham City, with stunning views towards Durham Castle and Cathedral World Heritage Site. Amenities include: showers and changing rooms, managed reception, shared space, high-speed internet, wired certified Gold plus dedicated car and bike parking. 

    Phase 1, One Milburngate offers 53,701 square feet of office space, available in flexible floor plates of 10,445 square feet and suites from 3,948 square feet upwards. This will be followed by a second phase of office development comprising a further 177,000 square feet of space to let.

    The mixed-use development also comprises luxury apartments, a Premier Inn hotel and some of the city’s best bars and restaurants including Bar + Block, The Botanist, and Everyman, with several other units with several other units under offer to a range of other local and national brands.


    • Size: 2.2 hectares
    • Proposed master plan output: 48,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and leisure, 54,000 square feet of Grade A offices in Phase 1, 149 luxury apartments, 88 bed hotel, up to 600 car spaces and 200m river frontage
    • Site owner/partner: Arlington/Richardson
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Framwelgate Waterside, Durham, DH1 5TA
    • Website: www.milburngate.co.uk

    Panther Court, Chester-le-Street

    Plans for 155,000 square feet of B2/B8 space across six units ranging from 10,000 to 45,000 square feet are in place with programme completion scheduled for Q2 2023. Specification includes 8 metre clear eaves height, 10% office content, floor loading of 50kN/m, loading docks and level access doors, good sized service yards and onsite car parking.

    The development is situated adjacent to the established Drum Industrial Estate which comprises a number of national and local industrial and distribution businesses. Drum Industrial Estate is located 1 mile from junction 63 of the A1(M) providing excellent communications to the North East region and beyond.


    • Size: 5 hectares
    • Proposed master plan output: 155,000 square feet across 6 units ranging in size from 10,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet
    • Site owner/partner: Buccleuch Property and Argon Properties
    • Site requirements: Occupiers 
    • Address: Drum Industrial Estate, Chester-le-Street, DH2 1AY
    • Website: https://bit.ly/3rPlLX5

    To find more about the opportunities available in County Durham contact a member of our inward investment team:

    Peter Rippingale
    Director of Inward Investment and Opportunities
    Mobile: 07747 486 748
    Email: peter.rippingale@durham.gov.uk