A BUSINESS centre providing accommodation for new and growing small and medium-sized enterprises has officially opened.

Enterprise House Seaham was opened on the Seaham Grange Industrial Estate by Seaham Mayor Councillor Linda Willis and Tommy artist Ray Lonsdale, whose sculpture inspires much of the internal décor.

More than 50 people attended the event, which included a tour of the business centre and a buffet provided by ALs Catering, based in the new business centre.

Cllr Willis said: “This new facility will surely complement our area. With the number of new businesses entering Seaham each year, Enterprise House will provide an ideal hub to them.

“The additional office space within the town will also benefit local employment, which will have a positive knock-on effect to other local businesses already established within the town.

“The town has become a thriving tourist location in recent years and has gone from strength to strength, most notably through the creation of ‘Tommy’ which is so well reflected within this facility.”

Mr Lonsdale, who also signed the feature wall in the business centre's boardroom, or the "Tommy" room as it is known, said: “I am thrilled to be here to support the official opening of Enterprise House Seaham.

"When I first started out as self-employed, I would have loved somewhere like this to build up my business, somewhere clean, modern and professional, so I am delighted that my work was an inspiration for the décor.”

Andy Laundon and Lee Bishton, who are directors at electrical contracting firm Retroflo, are the men behind the development of Enterprise House.

Mr Laundon said: “I am so proud to see so many people here today for our official opening. We’ve worked so hard to create a space that will support entrepreneurship and drive a more enterprising culture in Seaham, and myself and Lee couldn’t be happy to see it officially opened.

“We have already secured two tenants and I am confident that the remaining offices will be snapped up quickly, as we’ve had such a positive response to what we’ve done here at Enterprise House.”

He added: "We thought about the things that make Seaham the fantastic area it is, and of course nothing epitomises the transformation of the town more than the ‘Tommy’ sculpture.

“Throughout the building there are touches that really celebrate the sculpture, while we’ve also had the walls decorated with visually striking images of the town, including the harbour area.

“These touches really add to the business facilities we’ve created, which include offices of varying sizes, meeting rooms and conference facilities.”

He added: "The building also provides meeting rooms for our tenants, and conferencing facilities for companies in the area who are looking to host an event or staff or board meeting off-site. Again, there is very little like that available, so we know there is a demand for it.

“A big thing for us is to encourage all of our tenants to interact and help each another, which will not only create a real community spirit within Enterprise House but will also support growth and success.”

For more information visit enterprisehouseseaham.co.uk.