Architectural facade manufacturer ARGLA, is relocating to a County Durham business park as part of its scale-up plans.

Architectural Glass and Aluminium (ARGLA) specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of architectural aluminium glass facades, aluminium windows, entrance doors and systems, and curtain walling for a range of commercial clients, including retail, office blocks, schools and student accommodation, as well as bespoke private developments.

Established in April 2019, ARGLA has moved its manufacturing operation from Leadgate in Consett to Jade Business Park, in Murton near Seaham to enable the company to grow and expand its workforce. Arriving at the new facility in early June it then employed eight people, which has now increased to 20 employees with further plans to increase to over 60 employees within the next two to three years.

They have also recently engaged with the team at East Durham College to take on two new apprentices in a scheme that they intend to participate in annually.

Jade Business Park is a 55-acre employment site next to the A19, close to Dalton Park, and is set to provide over 1 million sq ft of new employment space and over 2,500 jobs.

The park is owned by Durham County Council, managed by Business Durham, the business support service for the council, and developed by Highbridge Properties PLC.

ARGLA has invested a total of £380,000 on its new 17,000 sq. ft manufacturing unit – £130,000 on fitting and £250,000 on manufacturing equipment – to expand production and to facilitate the company to grow.

It is the fourth company to move to Jade Business Park and joins Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe, CoreHaus and Power Roll at the park. 

Simon Tuckwell, Managing Director of ARGLA, said: “We’re excited to be moving our manufacturing site to Jade Business Park, as it is such a great facility, and its location is perfect for us as it is close to the motorway and has excellent transport links.

“We were looking for a new purpose-built unit within County Durham, and the support from both Business Durham and Durham County Council in helping us secure the unit at Jade Business Park has been fantastic. One of the key benefits is the park having Enterprise Zone status, which helps us save on business rates over five years meaning we can use the money to invest in other areas.

“County Durham has a highly skilled labour market, and we plan to take advantage of this by increasing our workforce as part of our growth plans. We also want to work with local colleges and universities to offer apprenticeships and help boost the local economy as we have some exiting new projects in the pipeline.”

The company’s unit is part of the first phase of Jade Business Park, which was completed in summer 2020, delivering a total of seven new industrial units, equivalent to 155,000 sq ft of new space for distribution, technology, and advanced manufacturing businesses.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director at Business Durham, said: “It’s fantastic to see ARGLA relocating its manufacturing site to Jade Business Park, as they are the fourth business to sign a lease at this flagship development since it opened last summer. The company joins Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe, CoreHaus and PowerRoll in the first phase of the park and we’re looking forward to welcoming further companies to the remaining three units.

“Jade Business Park is a prime location for businesses to establish themselves in County Durham or for relocation and expansion, thanks to its high-quality industrial units and excellent transport links.  We look forward to seeing the company grow and thrive.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet Member for Economy and Partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome ARGLA to Jade Business Park, as it has never been more important to support economic growth and job creation. Creating high quality facilities at competitive rates is key to encouraging businesses to expand their manufacturing facilities and increase their workforce.

“Durham County Council is committed to supporting local businesses, and it’s fantastic to see ARGLA moving into a new unit to facilitate the company’s growth plans especially after the challenging past eighteen months. It’s vital that we continue to help businesses generate new opportunities for local residents by creating more and better jobs while developing a sustainable economy for the long term.”

Russell Taylor, Director at HTA Real Estate, said: “This is fantastic news. We welcome ARGLA and wish them well in their expansion plans. Thanks also to Mario Jaconelli at Lofthouse and Partners who acted on behalf of ARGLA”

Jade Business Park has been built on the former colliery and coke works. It is located in a designated Enterprise Zone, with a business rates benefit of up to £275,000 for occupiers.

The development of the new industrial units has been made possible by an investment of £14m from Durham County Council.

Additional support for highway and infrastructure works has come from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) and the Highways Agency which helped  fund a programme of works to increase the capacity of the A19/A182 junctions serving the business park, which will allow for future growth.

The North East LEP funding came from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which supports major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.