Around 6,000 jobs could be created in the private sector if cabinet members in Durham agree to the next stage in plans to move the authority’s HQ from a prime investment site in the city.
If the plans are given the green light, the move will see Durham County Council relocate from its current Aykley Heads site to a more central site in Durham City Centre.
Cabinet members agreed in principle last July to free up the Aykley Heads site for business investors and job creation – something that would involve the council moving to a smaller HQ.
It is estimated vacating the site would enable a redevelopment over the next 15 years with the potential for massive job creation and economic investment.
Analysis identifies that the city does not currently offer sufficient premises for business growth and Aykley Heads is considered a premier location to address that opportunity.
The site benefits from easy access to the mainline railway station and its proximity to the city centre making it an extremely prestigious location for business.
Aykley Heads has already become an established employment site, housing over 30 businesses with accounting firm Mazars and the NHS being among those recently locating there.
Cllr Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “The move represents a once in a generation opportunity to create thousands of jobs for County Durham and put hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy.
“This decision is much more than the council simply moving into a new building and reducing its ongoing costs, but will pave the way for investment that will bring more and better jobs for the residents of County Durham; the benefits of freeing up a strategic employment site have the potential to be a true game-changer for the county.”
If cabinet agrees to the full business case being prepared, a reserve option of the council building a new headquarters on land it already owns in Durham City will be retained as a viable alternative as well as to offer a comparison to ensure the preferred option delivers best value.
The council would aim to prepare the full business case for autumn 2017 to allow cabinet to make a final decision.