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Support Essential to Speed up Private Sector Development

 

Private sector development will catalyse the North East economy but only if it gets the right support to get projects moving quickly, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).

Private sector development will catalyse the North East economy but only if it gets the right support to get projects moving quickly, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).

With public sector development drying up, the importance of private developers investing in major projects is crucial to create jobs, support supply chains and maintain vital skills within the region's construction industry.

NECC chief executive James Ramsbotham pointed to developments such as the Banks Group's newly unveiled plans for the Mount Oswald site in Durham as an example of the type of project that needs swift and decisive backing.

Mr Ramsbotham said:

"The publicly-funded, multi-million-pound developments that the North East has witnessed in recent years are now largely behind us. We need private sector-led investment to drive future growth and to light a fire under the construction sector.

"The Banks Group's plans for Mount Oswald are a perfect example of the type of development we need in the North East. It will provide impressive executive housing in Durham City which will help attract and retain talent to the region. Furthermore, the plans include the provision of more student accommodation which will help Durham University expand.

"The downturn and the subsequent austerity measures introduced by the coalition Government have hit the North East construction sector particularly hard. We cannot risk losing the skills that have taken generations to develop and we cannot underestimate the wider benefits that construction projects bring to the region. It is essential, therefore, that councillors and planning officials do all that they can to back developments such as Mount Oswald and bring them to construction as swiftly as possible."

The Banks Group's development plans for the site of the Mount Oswald golf course focus primarily on executive housing, but also include a significant amount of high-quality student accommodation, which would be located adjacent to Van Mildert College.

The new accommodation would support Durham University's commitment to offering the best possible facilities to its undergraduate and postgraduate students and would also add considerably to the city's already excellent student accommodation offer.

Harry Banks, chairman and chief executive at The Banks Group, says:

"The realisation of the Mount Oswald scheme would provide many employment opportunities for local people, and by the very nature of its size, would result in a tangible boost to the local and regional economies.

"We believe our proposal very much fit in with the local authority's vision for the city's future, and we will be actively engaging with all interested parties over the coming months to get their views and ideas about what we're proposing for this important location."