A new breed of vibrant modern business village is taking shape in Northumberland, with another in Durham soon offering North East firms the type of facilities only usually found in the slick HQs of global organisations.

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. A site for the next potential b.village has now been acquired at Durham.

Speaking as work started at Bakers Road, Nelson Park Industrial Estate, marketing development manager Ann O’Donnell said the multi-million-pound development had been three years in the planning.

The aim was to create a custom-built community where businesses could integrate, work and relax together, she explained.

“The modern workplace is very different to what it was when many existing business estates were built. Well-networked communities and superb facilities help firms buzz and grow.

“While our smaller businesses might not have all the benefits of the big players, they can thrive by being agile and having fun places to work and b.village recognises that need.

“With high standards of energy efficiency and flexible combinations of workshop, storage and office space, firms can find their perfect combination and quickly scale up to meet their needs.

“The superb onsite facilities create a vibrant environment where people can be both happy and productive, and that helps attract and retain the best talent. We’ve already pre let a number of units so the signs are good.”

At b.village Cramlington there will be 24 individual units of 1400 sq. ft each, with an office on the upper floor and storage, warehouse, workshop, or studio area on the ground floor. Communal areas will include a coffee lounge and cafe area, a gym, conference and hot desking facilities.

The fully accessible units offer easy in/out leases, 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.

The site itself will not be staffed except for cleaning personnel and access to b.village facilities will be at the tenants’ wishes.

Although ground has only just been broken on the Cramlington site, reservations for lettings are already open and once building is underway a showroom will also be available.