30 May 2019

The construction sector in the North East continues to be an active and progressive contributor to the regional economy, embracing developments in technology and the ongoing digital transformation of the built environment. WBD is proud to be involved in the success stories that demonstrate the energy and dynamism of the construction sector in this region. 

By way of example, Northumberland County Council's £57m reorganisation of schools in the Ponteland area marks the move from a three-tier to a two-tier system. The new combined school and leisure centre development will form a major part of this initiative. To cater for the changes the current leisure centre in Ponteland will be demolished and replaced with a single new building that will integrate the primary and secondary schools with a state of the art leisure facility on campus. We have been involved from the outset of this project, which will provide an excellent learning environment helping to deliver the best possible education for children across Northumberland. 

In Newcastle itself, we are involved with the Helix Master Plan, a landmark 24 acre hybrid city quarter in the centre of Newcastle built for international technology and science businesses, the local community and residents. It is an exemplar of sustainable urban development which comprises prestigious commercial and residential space with first class research and education facilities in the heart of the city, creating an estimated 4000 jobs. 

Looking further afield, two examples in Durham. The first is the Durham University Programme, an ambitious strategy covering the period 2017 to 2027 including 23 projects for phases 1 and 2 with a total expenditure of around £350m. This investment will allow the University to deliver new departmental space, teaching space, residential accommodation and student facilities as well as improving the condition of its existing estate. We have assisted the University on three of its major projects so far including Maiden Castle, Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre and a new Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science building, each project with a value of over £35m. We have recently been instructed on the new Business School development at Elvet Waterside. 

The second example is the new Durham County Council headquarters. WBD has been involved from the outset of this project, a £50m development within the city conservation area at the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage Site peninsula crowned by the Cathedral and Castle and bounded by the River Wear. The building will provide a workplace for more than 1000 Council employees and will frame a new public square, benefitting the city centre by increasing footfall and expenditure and potentially reducing overall traffic and pollution levels. 

These are just some examples of the leading sector developments taking place in the North East making headlines across the country and, indeed, the world. We at WBD are proud to be part of the thriving construction sector in this region and look forward to working with North East companies in the future on many more exciting leading edge projects.

This article was first published by The Journal.