The Northern Echo - 'The Hitachi Effect'

October 31, 2014

The Northern Echo – ‘The Hitachi Effect’

DEVELOPERS are closing in on a deal that will create up to 4,500 North-East jobs.

Newcastle-based Merchant Place Developments (MPD), which led the campaign to bring a 730-jobs Hitachi train factory to Newton Aycliffe, expects to announce next month that it has secured an- other massive investment for the County Durham town.

MPD owns the Merchant Park site at Aycliffe where Hitachi Rail Europe yesterday unveiled the first phase of its £82m train factory.

The exterior of the plant, which will make trains for the East Coast and Great

Western lines, is complete and work has started on fit- ting it out before train pro- duction starts in early 2016.

The next jobs boost will see the development of a site – not linked to the Hitachi factory – close to Aycliffe Business Park. Developers are working with Durham County Council to secure the deal that should be con- firmed next month, MPD di- rector Geoff Hunton told The Northern Echo last night.

He believes Hitachi’s vote of confidence in the North- East is acting as a catalyst to other investors, leading to the revival of Aycliffe and the surrounding area.

Mr Hunton said: “Merchant  Park is benefitting from the upturn in the economy and what is becoming known as “the Hitachi effect”.

The announcement was made as the Japanese manu- facturer strengthened its commitment to the region by confirming it was making Aycliffe the headquarters of its UK design office.

A team of 12 will be based at the Hitachi Aycliffe fac- tory to design train carriage interiors for operators in- cluding Scotrail.