Village project earns crucial funding boost

Muckle's Yard, Rothbury.
Muckle's Yard, Rothbury.

A fund designed to stimulate the development of business infrastructure in rural areas and to strengthen the rural economy has approved funding to support a new project in Rothbury.

The North East Rural Growth Network has approved a £103,994 investment from the Strategic Economic Investment Fund (SEIF) to go to Muckle’s Yard.

The grant will be used to refurbish an existing tired and under-used office workspace in the heart of the village.

The project is set to create 16 units and a total of 10 jobs.

Philip Muckle, of Muckle’s Yard, said: “We are delighted that the SEIF funding will enable us to develop this exciting project, which will provide purpose-built spaces for a variety of start-up and growing businesses in this unique business centre in the heart of the Coquet Valley.

“With superfast broadband, meeting rooms and easy in/easy out terms, it is envisaged that businesses will be able to use all the facilities, normally available in larger towns/cities without the need to travel further afield.”

Gillian Hall, North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board member, said: “This is extremely good news and the development will support the vibrant and entrepreneurial community already in place within the locality.

“Part of the North East LEP’s remit is to work with our partners to create more and better jobs for all and this funding will certainly help achieve this objective.”

Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is great to see further investment from the Rural Growth Network benefitting this project in Northumberland. 

“The jobs created and facilities provided will give a welcome boost, supporting much-welcomed growth to the rural economy.”

Construction of the project is expected to begin in the next few months and facilities are due to open by summer 2016.

Other projects to benefit from the latest round of SEIF investment – a total of £219,889 – are Shawwell Business Centre on the outskirts of Corbridge and the Kibblesworth Village Millennium Centre in Gateshead.