AN ailing industrial site in County Durham has benefited from a multi-million pound investment which has helped boost employment in the locality.

The 17-acre Merrington Lane Industrial Estate, near Spennymoor, was in poor repair and around 80 per cent vacant property when developers Northumberland Estates acquired it in summer, 2019.

A refurbishment of the site, formerly owned by electrical giants Electrolux, which included improved infrastructure and upgraded facilities has reversed this position.

Northumberland Estates exceeded its own expectations by attracting new tenants and securing 100 per cent occupancy within 12 months, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asset manager at Northumberland Estates, Michael O’Driscoll, said: “When we purchased Merrington Land Industrial Estate at auction we felt that with the right investment the voids could be filled quickly.

"The site had been neglected for a number of years hence the refurbishment works were significant.

"We decided to demolish part of the main building to facilitate a larger yard as well as carrying out significant surfacing works.

"Two thirds of the units were re-roofed and the majority of elevations were reclad which has been transformative. Such is the level of demand for industrial space currently that we let the all the vacant space prior to finishing the works."

The site, which is close to the A1(M) now comprises 307,000 sq ft and is fully let to five tenants including Nissan supplier DS Foams UK Limited, Stiller Warehousing & Distribution and The Shred Centre.

Mr O’Driscoll: “The boom in online shopping has created increased demand for storage from a wide range of companies and not just food retailers. Businesses are looking for ever larger premises, ideally with good links to major road networks.

"Consequently, large warehouses such as this are in high demand, not only in the North-East but also nationwide.

"Proof of this comes from projects such as our joint venture property deal with Helios Properties which should see the creation of a new major logistics centre for a major online retailer at Wynyard Business Park on Teesside, creating up to 3,000 jobs for the area.”