Funding sources available to support businesses at Northumberland manufacturing hub

Businesses locating to one of the largest development sites in Northumberland can now access an extended suite of funding support.

Advance Northumberland has introduced an extensive funding toolkit for companies which set up on or relocate to the 62-acre Ashwood Business Park in Ashington. The site, situated in South East Northumberland, is at the heart of one of the North East’s strongest manufacturing clusters. It is close to the A1 and A19 road links with easy access to the Port of Blyth and Newcastle International Airport. The funding options available are designed to support business growth and also help companies respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Last year, a new masterplan for Ashwood Business Park was revealed by Advance Northumberland, centred around making the site a fulcrum for further industrial growth in the region. The vision for the Park is to create a centre for manufacturing excellence, an employment hub and a primed site capable of development ready for significant inward investors.

The site will also establish an amenity gateway which will include a petrol filling station and key services for the businesses and employees on the park. Ashwood Business Park is a North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Enterprise Zone, meaning that organisations locating there can benefit from 100 per cent Enhanced Capital Allowances. This makes the site a particularly attractive location for large scale businesses from the manufacturing, engineering and process sectors who wish to invest in new, more efficient technology and expand their capabilities. And, as Ashwood Business Park is in the North of Tyne area, businesses locating from outside the region can benefit from The North of Tyne Inward Investment fund, which supports capital investment and job creation projects.

Companies can apply for up to £1 million in grant funding subject to eligibility and meeting the right criteria. The scheme is open to all sized companies with current operations being outside of the North of Tyne area. SMEs located at Ashwood Business Park will be able to apply for support from The North of Tyne Growth Fund, a £4.6 million programme of investment part-funded by ERDF that supports SME growth across Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle local authorities.

In addition, SMEs situated at Ashwood Business Park – and businesses relocating to the site – may be eligible for support from The North East Fund, a £120 million investment programme available to SMEs across Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. And SMEs situated on Ashwood Business Park will now also have access to the recently launched £7.896 million North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service, which supports SMEs based in the rural areas of the North of Tyne Combined Authority Area over the next three years.

Delivered by Advance Northumberland and Northumberland County Council, it will provide a business support and advice service, which will focus on meeting the specialised needs of rural businesses with the development of business growth plans. This support will also aid businesses in their Covid-19 response resilience planning. The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service will support investment in projects that enable rural businesses to expand productive capacity and / or diversify into new markets or products which will lead to new job creation.

The programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 (ERDF) and the North of Tyne Combined Authority. In addition, tenants at Ashwood Business Park will have access to the £5 million North of Tyne Combined Authority COVID 19 Capacity Fund, which was launched in May to help businesses and communities to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

Plots available at Ashwood Business Park are from 50,000 sq ft to 500,000 sq ft. A variety of industrial units can be developed, with tenure options ranging from a freehold sale to a bespoke, turnkey solution on a short-term lease. The business park, which benefits from excellent digital connectivity, is currently home to a major AkzoNobel paint processing facility and the headquarters of housing provider Bernicia Homes.

The site also boasts Birchwood Industrial Estate, which is owned by Advance Northumberland and comprises approximately 40,000 sq ft of fully let commercial space. In January 2020, agreement was reached between Advance Northumberland, Northumberland County Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership for investment of £2.7 million into new infrastructure into Ashwood Business Park.

Richard Wearmouth, Chair of Advance Northumberland said, “Ashwood Business Park is set to be a centre for advanced manufacturing, process and engineering companies, and a fulcrum for further industrial growth in the North East.

“With an extensive suite of funding sources available for businesses who wish to set up on or relocate to Ashwood Business Park, coupled with excellent transport links and a high level of digital connectivity, the site offers companies a fantastic opportunity for growth and expansion.

“In addition, the recently launched The North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service and North of Tyne Combined Authority COVID-19 Capacity Fund, can help businesses located at Ashwood Business Park navigate through the Covid-19 crisis, and these specialist schemes provide a valuable additional source of support for companies who wish to operate from South East Northumberland.”

Advance Northumberland is the regeneration, physical delivery and business support vehicle delivering regeneration throughout Northumberland on behalf of Northumberland County Council. It has a portfolio of assets and land worth £250 million and can support businesses with access to finance, training and recruitment advice, supply chain connections and introductions to external support programme and business networks.

For more information on Advance Northumberland and Ashwood Business Park, visit: https://www.investnorthumberland.co.uk/sites-property-search/