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Homes and Communities Agency visits Durham Riverside Regeneration Project

Homes and Communities Agency visits Durham Riverside Regeneration Project

The developers of DurhamGate welcomed the Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency to its other significant project in the region, the regeneration of Durham City’s Riverside.

On a visit to Freeman’s Reach, Robert Napier CBE was shown the progress of the development and the plans to dramatically improve this part of the riverside.

Last year the HCA entered into a development agreement with Durham County Council and a development consortium led by Carillion Developments, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP to invest £27million into the scheme, which will breathe new life into the site.

The HCA is also one of the public sector partners that have been involved in the development of DurhamGate.

Construction of the Freeman’s Reach project, which will retain and attract up to 800 jobs for Durham City, is underway and Mr Napier was given a tour of the site by representatives from the development consortium.

He saw the first stages of development of the new offices being constructed for National Savings & Investment, which will relocate to Freeman’s Reach from Milburngate House on the opposite bank of the Wear ensuring 395 jobs remain in the city centre.

Mr Napier commented that it was one of the best sites he had seen for some time and made particular reference to how clean and well-run the site is.

In addition, Mr Napier was shown the future home of the hydro-turbine, which will enable Freeman’s Reach to become the first hydro-powered city centre development in the UK. 

The electricity generating hydro-turbine uses an Archimedean screw to harness the power of the river generating more than 75 percent of the power required for Freeman’s Reach.  In addition, when the building is not in use electricity generated by the turbine will be fed into the National Grid.

Robert Napier CBE, Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “It’s fantastic to see how our investment has attracted such high quality partners as Carillion Developments and Arlington Real Estate, which are creating 300 construction jobs and safeguarding many other jobs for the future.  I was very impressed with the high quality of the site management and the team running the project.  It was one of the best sites I’ve visited for some time.” 

Neil McMillan, Director of Carillion Developments, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Napier to Freeman’s Reach.  The Homes and Communities Agency has been very supportive of our vision to regenerate the riverside by creating an attractive, sustainable development that will prove to be a catalyst for further regeneration and additional inward investment for this part of the city.”

Allan Cook, Director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “We have worked closely with many stakeholders on the delivery of this project including the Homes and Communities Agency so it was pleasing to be able to show Mr Napier the progress we are making.  He was impressed with our planned use of green technology as well as our commitment to supporting employment growth and retention in the city.”

Picture shows: left to right: Neil McMillan (Director, Carillion Developments), Robert Napier CBE (Chairman, Homes and Communities Agency), David Curtis (Executive Director North East, Yorkshire & The Humber, Homes and Communities Agency) and Allan Cook (Director, Arlington Real Estate) on the Freeman’s Reach site.