The North-East Technology Park in County Durham – or NETPark as it is known – provides science, technology and engineering companies with the type of world-class laboratory, clean room and office space they require on the journey from start-up to, frequently, global AIM-listed status.
Launched in 2004, NETPark is the only science park in the UK with two Catapult Centres and three national innovations centres. It is also home to more than 32 companies which between them employ around 550 highly skilled personnel across a range of incubation and grow-on spaces, including Plexus, Discovery and Explorer.
Now, NETPark is expanding again to provide both grow-on space for existing tenants and new opportunities for inward investors keen to relocate their businesses to this nationally important science and technology park.
NETPark phase 3 will give companies planning to take that next step to significant scale-up, the option of securing a high-end premises tailored to meet the most exacting of requirements.
A new access road, boasting a strategically important junction with the A177, has already been completed thanks to a £5m grant from the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, in keeping with the Government’s North-East Growth Deal. The road has been crucial in opening up the land for development.
Clear Futures, a delivery partnership that works with the public sector to make the most of its land and property assets, is working in partnership with NETPark owners Durham County Council to develop the next phase of buildings and build on the success of the science park.
Richard Airey, director of Clear Futures, said: “The expansion of NETPark offers a unique opportunity for high growth science, engineering and technology companies to grow, scale-up and commercialise their operations at one of the UK’s premier science parks.
In the well-established NETPark phases 1 and 2, the provision ranges from small incubator spaces to individual units up to 20,000sq.ft.
Phase 3 will be designed to be equally flexible including space for bespoke buildings potentially up to 70,000sq.ft and beyond.
The location of NETPark is a key attraction being in the heart of the countryside, yet just 20 minutes from Durham and a stone’s throw from major transport arteries.
“It is set in a really lovely environment, something businesses feel is as important as its great connectivity,” said Richard.
“We aim to keep the rural feel of the site, which offers access to lots of great outdoor activities, such as walking and cycling along existing networks. They are of tremendous benefit to the people working here.”
One of the companies that has been growing at NETPark since 2012 is Redditch Medical, supplier of medical devices and specialised pharmaceutical products to healthcare services across the globe.
The company occupies the Discovery 2 building, which is dedicated to the manufacture of GMP pharmaceutical products and incorporates a class 6 cleanroom
James Tucker, sales and marketing director for Redditch Medical, said: “The incentives offered made it a no-brainer to set up here, and particularly given the strength of the chemical and life sciences industries and networks in this area.
“The ability to dip into different resources, in terms of labour and some of the innovation and technology that is happening round about, is very important to a business such as ours.”
The availability of a skilled local workforce has contributed significantly to the success of the operation based at NETPark. Essentially a start-up in 2012, it now accounts for 50% of the company’s annual turnover.
“So yes, it has been a huge success story for us,” said James. “A large portion of Redditch Medical’s output goes for export. We’re not just manufacturing for the UK, we are servicing vaccine manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies world-wide. We are now exporting to Australia, central Europe, Asia and some into the USA too.”
Its own services were predicated by customer demand and the determination to close any gaps in the market in relation to service, product and supply. “Today, we have the largest range of offer within the segment/industry,” he said.
The 40 or so members of staff based at Redditch Medical’s offices on NETPark were perfectly placed to carry out their key roles in production, quality control and logistics.
Find out more about NETPark at
telephone +44(0)1740 625250 or
on Twitter @NETParkUK.