New future for former Alcan Smelter site as Harworth receives consent for new employment scheme

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Several hundred new jobs could be created following the resolution to grant planning consent for a major new redevelopment in Northumberland, at the site of the former Rio Tinto (Alcan) Smelter near Ashington.

Site owner Harworth Group has secured the resolution to grant planning consent from Northumberland County Council to redevelop the site, now known as Lynefield Park.

The 175 acre site will provide up to 1.3m square feet of manufacturing, distribution and local start up space in line with the consent granted.  The site also benefits from an existing rail connection, providing access to the Port of Blyth, excellent power grid connectivity and is situated in close proximity to the coastal transport corridor – comprising the A189 and A19 – in Northumberland.

Harworth Group acquired the site from Rio Tinto in April 2015.  The Company’s aim is to create a scheme which will benefit the local economy and to replace the jobs lost when the smelter ceased to operate in 2012.  Harworth Group has spent the past two and a half years undertaking site safety and security works, including demolishing redundant industrial structures, masterplanning the site for future employment uses and securing new tenants – including Lynx Precast and H-Mix – for the buildings that remain.

Public consultation on the plans with residents took place earlier this year and following the consideration of feedback, an outline planning application was submitted at the end of June.

Eddie Peat, Director for North East & Corporate Development at Harworth Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have received the support of Northumberland County Council for our scheme that will make a major contribution to the North East’s economy.  We remain fully committed to creating a first-class commercial centre that can provide up to 650 new jobs in accordance with local planning policy and we will now promote the site’s significant assets, including its railhead, to potential occupiers.”

Planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore supported Harworth in developing the plans.  Claire Kent, director at Barton Willmore, said:

“This is a major step towards regenerating one of Northumberland’s most significant former industrial sites.  Harworth’s exciting plans will bring much-needed new high value jobs to the area, and create long term sustainability.”

Harworth will now focus its efforts in preparing the land for redevelopment and promoting the site to key international and national businesses.  Appointed agents are HTA and Cushman & Wakefield.