A £1.2million investment in key infrastructure to the south of Alnwick is set to open up new commercial opportunities – and the prospect of jobs.
Northumberland Estates is investing in a new access road, public footpaths, street lighting, bus stops and drainage at Lionheart Industrial Estate, while works are also being carried out to widen the A1068 in order to deal with additional traffic volumes.
This development is taking place alongside construction of a new depot for Highways England, which has signed a 15-year lease with the Estates, resulting in a total investment of £3.5million.
This scheme, designed by The Shadbolt Group, is under way and due for completion in December, and the site should employ around 30 staff.
It comes hot on the heels of last month’s announcements of proposed new housing and retail development.
Three weeks ago, plans for 270 new homes on land at Windy Edge, off Alnmouth Road, were unveiled. The opening-up of new employment land at Lionheart, plus the retail park, may help to answer critics who question the need for more houses unless there are more jobs.
The week before that, proposals for the new retail park, which could create around 90 jobs, were announced. A planning application for the site, to the south of Greensfield Industrial Estate, is likely to be submitted later this summer.
The Lionheart estate, on the eastern side of the A1, is already home to a wide range of companies, including JT Dove, MKM, Blackshaws and Plumb Center.
Michael O’Driscoll, senior asset manager at Northumberland Estates, said: “The infrastructure works will open up Lionheart to create a range of new development opportunities.
“The land is earmarked for employment uses and we envisage that there will be genuine demand for industrial, trade and motor trade uses.”
On the joint venture for the new salting and gritting depot, Mr O’Driscoll added: “We were delighted to be able to help Highways England in producing a purpose-built depot for them in Alnwick.
“The expansion of the A1 is an exciting and vital project for the area and this new build highlights the potential benefits the dualing of the A1 can bring to the town and to the area.”
A spokesman for Highways England said: “Highways England is planning a significant investment in this strategic route over the next few years and this new depot will enable us to continue maintaining the existing infrastructure and give us the capacity to manage any future improvements for our customers.”