New IT jobs created in move to Aykley Heads

A fast-growing business and IT firm is making a move to new premises in an area set to play a key role in creating thousands of jobs for County Durham.

Waterstons is moving to Durham County Council-owned Northumbria House at Aykley Heads in Durham City. The council recently announced its ambitions to attract more than 6,000 new private sector jobs to Aykley Heads, creating a new business district and bringing a £400 million boost to the county’s economy.

Waterstons’ move from its current offices at Belmont Business Park has been sparked by growth of nearly 30 per cent in the 2017 financial period with planned growth for the period at around another 20 per cent. The company, which also has offices in London and Glasgow, employs 133 staff and expects to hire another 30 people over the next 12 months. It is also looking to expand overseas, possibly in the Asia Pacific region, and see its 16/17 turnover of £9.4 million top £11million.

Susan Bell, chief executive officer at Waterstons, said:

“We are very proud to maintain our head office in Durham.  We are enjoying excellent growth, with aspirations to grow further in the North East fuelled by our long term relationships and partnerships with clients and prospects in the region.  The new office will provide much needed additional capacity and enable us to work more effectively together. The vision for Aykley Heads as a high-growth business district for professional services is extremely attractive and we are thrilled to be relocating at the start of the redevelopment of the area.”

The company, which was established nearly 24 years ago, delivers services to a large number of clients ranging from manufacturing, AEC  and education to the food and drink industry.  It is likely to make the move to Aykley Heads in the autumn following an office refurbishment.  The company is partnering with local North East companies GT3 Architects and Identity Consult, as well as a cross section of Waterstons people, to make sure that the new space reflects the needs of the business.

The company, which nurtures talent and develops graduates and interns over the year, encourages their staff to work flexibly and lets them choose if they want to work in the office, from home or other suitable locations.

“We find our people tend to choose to come into the office to work with and inspire each other,” added Michael Stirrup, financial director at Waterstons. “So it’s vital that their working environment encourages collaboration and stimulates their creativity. Our people are our greatest asset and it’s imperative that they influence how the office space will be used and look.”

The firm joins successful names such as Atom bank at Aykley Heads, which is also home to the office space and small business incubator Salvus House, managed by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, on behalf of Durham County Council.

The leader of Durham County Council, Cllr Simon Henig, said: “We are delighted to welcome Waterstons to Northumbria House and particularly pleased to have a business and IT consultancy as the first of, what we anticipate, will be many new companies locating at Aykley Heads.

“This is the start of a very exciting moment in the county’s history which I believe represents a step change for our economy and that of the wider region.”

Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, which helped facilitate the move:  “This is an incredibly exciting time for Waterstons to be moving to Aykley Heads – an area which will be transformed by millions of pounds of investment over the next few years. Waterstons has always been proud to be based in Durham and we’re delighted the firm is expanding here in the county.”

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