A new Cramlington business village is bucking the economic gloom by proving a big hit with businesses despite lockdown.

Work on Cramlington’s b.village ended just as the coronavirus pandemic was ravaging the UK economy.

But, instead of facing uncertainty, growing and start-up businesses have flocked to b.village, drawn by superb flexible facilities, low-cost easy in/out leases and the chance to join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Just over a year since construction work started at Bakers Road, Nelson Industrial Estate, 22 of the 24 units have been let, and work is planned on a sister site in Durham.

b.village’s Lindsey Dunn said, despite COVID delaying construction by four months, suppliers and contractors had pulled out all the stops to allow tenants to move in.

“There’s a lot of evidence that new businesses and start-ups thrive when they co-locate because they kind of feed off that shared energy. The concept behind b.village was to create a vibrant well-networked community with the kind of shared facilities that help attract talent, plus spaces and rents which flex as they grow.

“When we were planning b.village, we came across a lot of businesses that needed warehousing as well as a nice office to work from. Normally, you get one or the other. We have obviously got the balance right because we only have two units left. It’s been a fantastic start,” she said.

The first business to move in was global logistics company ThinkPrime, who had already outgrown nearby premises despite only opening up in the North East two years ago.

Head of Sales Paul Knight said b.village was a great facility which fit their company ethos and allowed them to remain in a big exporting area.

“The important thing is that it feels like a community already, so on that basis we are hoping to work with other companies on the b.village. If we can help each other grow in business it’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.

b.village Cramlington is the first in a network of business communities where totally flexible, energy-efficient, low start-up cost workspace comes packaged with onsite gym, recreation, catering and conference facilities.

And as more b.villages spring up, tenants will be able to hot desk and use facilities at sister sites. The next potential b.village will soon be taking shape at Meadowfield Industrial Estate in Durham.

Each 1,400 sq. ft unit at Cramlington has an office on the upper floor and storage, warehouse, workshop, or studio area on the ground floor. Communal areas include a coffee lounge and cafe area, a gym, conference and hot desking facilities.

The fully accessible units also have fully-fitted kitchenettes, 24-hour access, parking with electric vehicle charging points and low start-up costs including inclusive fast internet, as well as other benefits.

Rents are competitive at £695pm for a five year lease with the option to end the lease after six months.