Work has started on a ‘game-changing’ £41m business park which could one day house more than 7,000 jobs.
The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) was given formal planning permission in May.
Builders have now moved on to the 150-hectare site north of the Nissan plant, off the A19, to begin construction of the first factory.
Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council (STC), said: “Over the coming weeks, people will start to see a lot more activity around the site – the first signs of what will be a truly game-changing manufacturing district.”
“IAMP will be a world-leading advanced manufacturing hub, creating thousands of jobs, and will be truly transformational for the North East economy.
“We look forward to seeing IAMP quickly begin to take shape.”
Over the next 10-15 years the IAMP is expected to bring in about £400m of private sector investment, create more than over 7,000 jobs.
The project is a joint scheme between Sunderland City Council (SCC) and South Tyneside Council.
Following a City Deal with the government in 2015, the site has attracted investment worth £41m through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) £270m Local Growth Fund for infrastructure, including new roads, bridges and environmental enhancements to support the development.
David Land, of the North East LEP’s board, said: “Advanced manufacturing is one of the strongest performing sectors in the North East, which is why growing this important area of industry sits at the heart of our Strategic Economic Plan.
“The IAMP will create more and better jobs for our region and help grow the economy.
“It will be a key strategic site for the advanced manufacturing industry both regionally and nationally.”
Coun Graeme Miller, leader of SCC, said: “Now that the initial round of preparatory work is underway, we expect to see this hugely significant development move forward quickly.
“IAMP is one of the most significant developments that the region has seen in decades and will play a crucial role in rebalancing the North East economy.
“The vision and hard work of South Tyneside and Sunderland councils to secure a deal that will bring huge economic benefits will soon bear fruit, and it’s fantastic to take such a major step forward.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service