A nationally-significant project to deliver more than 5,000 jobs in North East England is moving forward with the appointment of a development partner.
South Tyneside and Sunderland councils have jointly appointed Henry Boot Developments Limited as development partner for the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).
It will be responsible for the physical building of the site which is proposed for an area close to the A19 and to the north of Nissan’s existing manufacturing plant.
IAMP will be a world-class environment for high-tech industries, advanced manufacturing businesses, and designed to attract more than 5,000 jobs and bring in more than £300million of private sector investment over the next 10 years.
It is anticipated the IAMP will also help secure more automotive supply chain jobs following Nissan recent announcements on the Qashqai and X-Trail replacement models being manufactured in Sunderland.
The Henry Boot Developments contract - the most significant awarded to date for the site - was approved at cabinet meetings held by both local authorities following a competitive tender process.
The Government has already pledged £42million through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership towards infrastructure at IAMP including new roads, bridges and environmental enhancements.
The project will also see contributions from the two local authorities and Enterprise Zone income in the form of retained business rates.
Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "We are delighted to have awarded the development partner contract to Henry Boot Developments, a company with a proven track record of delivering projects of this scale and significance.
"The IAMP is one of the most strategically-important projects in decades for Sunderland, South Tyneside and the entire North-East region.
"With Nissan as a magnet there is huge interest in IAMP, so it is critical that we assemble a delivery team with the expertise to deliver this project.
"We know Henry Boot Developments will be a flexible, responsive partner, as this site will be developed to respond to market demand – and there is already a great deal of interest."
Henry Boot Developments will deliver infrastructure works, such as highways and utilities, and floorspace for accommodation on the site, which is the equivalent of more than 100 football pitches. Work could begin next year, subject to further permissions.
Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "There is a huge opportunity for both South Tyneside and Sunderland to further expand their capacity when it comes to advanced manufacturing.
"We know already that there is strong interest from investors keen to capitalise on the fantastic assets the North East can offer businesses in the manufacturing sector.
"We have only scratched the surface when it comes to the economic opportunities this sector can create for the North East, and the IAMP is the key that will unlock that potential.
"We expect there to be a huge level of interest from international businesses looking to base themselves on a purpose-built development with infrastructure to support their needs.
"We went to market to find a developer that could respond to the needs of the market, and we are confident that we have found that in Henry Boot.Developments"
IAMP has been designated a 'nationally significant infrastructure project' by the Government.
Vivienne Clements, director at Henry Boot Developments, said: "We have a strong track record of work on large-scale public and private sector developments.
"We are delighted to be part of the IAMP partnership, developing a world-class hub for businesses in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors.
"South Tyneside and Sunderland City Councils have a shared vision to develop this site as an attractive location for national and international business investment and job creation."
Plans for infrastructure work have been submitted to the Government and further approvals are expected in the coming months.
The IAMP, first outlined in 2014, is a key part of the Sunderland City Deal in Partnership with South Tyneside.
The deal is seeing Sunderland and South Tyneside working closely with the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), plus the areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, as part of the North East Combined Authority (NECA).