Langley Moor businessman backs Banks’ Durham development plans to boost local economy and create jobs

January 24, 2013 | Browney Lane News


The manager of a Durham builders merchants is backing development plans put forward by the Banks Group to bring a much-needed boost to the hard-hit local economy.

Ian Fish, the manager of the Durham branch of Thompson Building Centres at Langley Moor, has given his backing to the proposals presented by Banks for the Mount Oswald site in Durham City and the Browney Lane site in the city’s south-west suburbs.

Ian, who lives in Meadowfield, believes the two schemes would lead to new employment opportunities coming into the city, as well as bringing both short and long-term benefits to retailers operating in the area.

Banks’ proposals for the Mount Oswald site have been designed in support of Durham County Council’s vision of Durham City acting as a driver of economic growth in the county, and encompass executive housing, an education quarter, new formal and informal public open spaces and a range of new community facilities.

Ian Fish says: “A lot of the businesses and tradesmen who buy supplies from us have been struggling for work for a long time, and many more have had to move out of the industry altogether to find jobs in new professions.

“This obviously impacts on the range of skills and services that local companies can provide, as well as on our revenues.

“Seeing Banks’ schemes being built would not only provide direct benefits for companies in the construction business who might be employed as sub-contractors, but also for all the convenience stores, food retailers and other stores around the areas, all of whom I know are struggling in the present climate.

“The people that work here are all from the local area, and I would hope that these developments going ahead would put me in a position to employ more people and thus help to ease local unemployment, as there are few opportunities to find work in and around our area.”

If they are approved, Banks’ Mount Oswald plans would support around 220 local jobs, with around 120 people employed on site during the construction phase of the scheme, and a further 100 jobs across the supply chain.

Up to a further 164 permanent jobs could also be supported by the different elements of the Mount Oswald development when it is complete, with local employment opportunities being created on the site through a new convenience store, small offices and the sustainable re-use of the Mount Oswald manor house.

The Meadowfield-based firm is also applying for planning permission to build 271 family homes on the 27-acre Browney Lane site, which sits on agricultural land near to the junction of North View and Browney Lane, and which is identified for new housing in the County Durham Plan Preferred Options document.

Around 30 new jobs would be created during the site preparation and construction phases of the scheme, and investment would also be made in enhancing the facilities of the Browney community, including in improving the local road infrastructure.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The progressive developments that we’re looking to take forward in Durham are precisely the type of private sector projects that have widely been identified as the key to creating a sustainable economic future, both regionally and nationally.

“As an established Durham-based family business, we want to play our part in helping the County Council deliver its vision of Durham City becoming a driver of economic growth in County Durham, and firmly believe that our Mount Oswald and Browney Lane proposals would contribute strongly to this work.

“Our estimates indicate that the Mount Oswald scheme alone would generate an estimated £3.4m additional expenditure in the Durham City economy, which would have a very positive direct impact on the local retail community and many other local firms.

“We believe these facts, as well as the wide range of other economic and social benefits that these schemes would bring to the city, all add up to make a very compelling case for planning approval to be granted to both these sensitively designed schemes.”

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