IAMP – A giant advanced manufacturing park close to Nissan has been given the green light to move forward after securing £42million of government funding.
The planned International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), close to the A19 just north of Nissan’s car making plant, is designed to create more than 5,000 jobs across the two authorities of Sunderland and South Tyneside and bring in more than £300m of private sector investment over the next ten years.
£42m of Government funds, part of its Industrial Strategy, are earmarked for the infrastructure of new roads, access and utilities.
The £91.9m IAMP, designated a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’, will provide 100 hectares of space, equivalent to 140 football pitches, for automotive, off-shore and other hi-tech businesses expanding or relocating to the region. The business park has excellent road links, close to the A19 and the A184, and is ideally located for the region’s thriving cluster of car making and supply chain businesses.
Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s fantastic news to have the funding go-ahead for the IAMP joint project, which will pay huge dividends for the economies of Sunderland and South Tyneside in the years ahead.
“It comes in the same month as Nissan production figures recorded 2016 figures of over 507,000 cars produced at its Sunderland plant, and an overall car production total nudging nine million since Nissan set up here thirty years ago.
“The park offers a fantastic opportunity for Sunderland’s position as the UK’s leading automotive and advanced manufacturing hub to continue to grow not only through this generation of businesses, but through future generations. The IAMP will boost the wealth of our two areas, thanks both to the number of jobs it will provide and the high-quality of the jobs in the industries the IAMP will attract.”
Coun Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council added: “The IAMP could become the workplace of hundreds and thousands of workers in the future, attracting huge investment into the region, and strengthening our reputation nationally and internationally as a manufacturing powerhouse.
“It has the potential to be one of the most significant economic drivers to arrive South of Tyne since Nissan opened its doors in Washington, and we are delighted to be working with our colleagues in Sunderland to secure this hugely significant opportunity for the whole of the North East. Furthermore, I am keen to work with Nexus to enhance connectivity to the site, in particular an extension of the Metro system.”
Nissan divisional vice president for European manufacturing, Kevin Fitzpatrick, said: “The relationships we enjoy with local suppliers have been critically important to Nissan’s growth in Sunderland. The IAMP has great potential to make the region’s automotive sector stronger, more agile and even better prepared for the future.”
The works will include:
- An upgrade to the A1290 connecting it to the Highways England schemes for the A19; new bridges and junctions, and the site drainage system
- Electrical power supply and connections; water and service utility connections and diversions
- Acquisition and management of specific land for ecology mitigation
- Land acquisitions for development sites
- Long-term site management and initial public transport revenue support.
Proposals for the huge new business park include a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and 260,000 square metres of business space on the 100-hectare site.
First outlined in 2014, the IAMP is a key part of the Sunderland City Deal in partnership with South Tyneside. Sunderland and South Tyneside are working closely with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, plus the areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, as part of the North East Combined Authority (NECA).
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The North-East has a world-leading reputation in the automotive sector, chemical innovation and exports.
“Through our industrial strategy and investment in the Northern Powerhouse, we plan to build on these strengths and create new opportunities and jobs in other industries and sectors.”
MANUFACTURING AND AUTO HUB
The reasons for the robust strength of the manufacturing and automotive sectors in Sunderland are many and varied, but at the top are a highly skilled, willing and stable workforce and an excellent infrastructure.
Nissan’s newly-announced production figures of more than half a million vehicles for 2016 follow on the news in October 2016 that not only would the replacement model for the popular Nissan Qashqai be built in Sunderland, but also the X-Trail SUV. These announcements give a terrific vote of confidence in the plant and the city. They secure production at the Sunderland plant going forward and boost the requirements of new supply contracts, which in turn increases the likelihood of more supplier companies being attracted to the area.
The North East now accounts for 26% of all electric vehicle production in Europe, with a growing reputation for research and development investment in new and emerging technologies. Smith Electric Vehicles, a global leader in all-electric commercial vehicles, Nissan, SEVCON and AVID Vehicles lead research and production in ultra-low carbon vehicle manufacture, alongside companies such as Caterpillar, Komatsu and Cummins.
Nissan has invested £420m into the manufacturing of its 100% electric Nissan LEAF at its Sunderland plant, along with the company’s first lithium-ion battery plant outside Japan. Together, the battery plant and LEAF production are supporting jobs for thousands of people in the UK car industry.
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The IAMP is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform not only the Sunderland and South Tyneside economies, but the economy of the north east region, bringing with it a wealth of possibilities for our communities.
“With the industries and investment the IAMP will attract, it will be a game-changer for our current and future workforce.”