Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Town Driving Ahead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Town Driving Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Stonehouse

Since Washington was designated a new town in 1964, it has continued to grow, exceeding any 1960s town planner's expectations. GVA Lamb & Edge's Jane Stonehouse outlines the Wearside town's latest property developments.

The main catalyst for Washington's commercial growth was Nissan's decision to locate its car manufacturing plant close by. The resulting hub of automotive component manufacturers continues to aid employment prospects for Washington residents.

The recent news that Valeo, one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, is expanding its UK operations with the opening of a new pounds 1.2m facility in Washington increases the focus on the automotive sector.

The factory will manufacture front-end parts for Nissan's new 4x4 model, the P32L, which goes into production in December this year.

Valeo is supplying components to Nissan, which has now come top of the European car productivity league for the seventh year running.

As well as Nissan, other leading industry investors in the area include Calsonic Kansei, TRW, Hashimoto, Gestamp UK and Faurecia.

The rise of distribution warehouse development in more recent years has also boosted Washington's profile.

It has a good supply of commercial land on a number of purpose-built industrial estates.

The town's location, close to the A1 and A19, between Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, has attracted international and national commercial investors. The impact of the size and number of commercial opportunities in the town has an important positive effect on the region as a whole.

Washington has, however, also had to cope with the loss of older manufacturing plants, most recently tyre maker Goodyear Dunlop, which announced it was ending production at its Washington factory with the loss of 585 jobs in April this year.

The company blamed the decision on its inability to manufacture tyres at a competitive cost level. Tyre manufacturing had been part of Washington's commercial life since the 1960s. …

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