A business and industrial park is nearing completion after enabling works were finished.

Gateshead Council Leader, Martin Gannon, along with fellow Councillor Stuart Green and other council members came out in support at the site completion event, celebrating the practical completion of the enabling works at Follingsby Max.

The 30-strong team came together with members from Gateshead Council and partners.

These included representatives from RPP, E3 Ecology, GMI Construction, Wardell Armstrong, Frank Shaw Associates, BWB Consulting, The Water Hub, along with the agents Colliers and Ashley Smith to celebrate reaching this milestone in under 45 weeks by collaborating and working openly with all partners.

Follingsby Max is a 39ha site located on the south eastern edge of Gateshead, along the northern bank of the River Don. It provides one of the most important industrial and logistics opportunities in the North East, with capacity for up to 225,000m 2 of floorspace, creating 1,500 jobs. This commercial development has embedded the protection, enhancement and long-term positive management of the natural environment into its design; supported by excellent partnership working.

It demonstrates that through genuine public private partnership working by Gateshead Council and Highgrove Group, the strong aligned vision for enhancing the natural environment has been embedded within the project’s design and delivery and will create a legacy for future development partnerships.

Martin Gannon, Gateshead Council Leader said: “Follingsby Max will play a key part in supporting the region’s economic growth strategy and cement Follingsby’s reputation as the premier distribution park in the North East. We have supported Highgrove through the planning and preconstruction process and enabled the necessary infrastructure to begin development. We will continue to work in partnership with the developers to attract occupiers to Follingsby Max. Just another example of how Gateshead Council is committed to supporting investors and businesses looking to move into the borough. Gateshead is most definitely open for business.”

Dave Price, Operations Director Highgrove Group commented: “Follingsby Max represents an innovative approach to the delivery of high quality blue green infrastructure within commercial development. The team have worked together to transform the site constraints into natural capital assets and created a unique commercial offer with the help of Gateshead Council and partners to realise this unique approach.”

Speaking about the project and the improvements, Rob Carr from the Tyne Catchment Coordinator at the Environment Agency and Chair of the Don Catchment Partnership, said: “This is a great example of partnership working to achieve more for our environment and looking at ways the private sector can contribute to our local ambition, supporting the Government’s 25-year plan for the Environment. The River Don has been altered and straightened over the years through a combination of urbanisation and farming practises, so this was a great opportunity to help 1km of the river to naturalise The improvements to the river on the Follingsby Max site, along with other projects being driven by the Don Catchment Partnership, will help restore habitat and ecology as well as improve the quality of the water for the communities that live in the Don catchment.”