Contractors working on the creation of a new Durham Investigative Hub are celebrating a major new milestone.

The Durham Gate development, in Spennymoor, which will provide more than 6,600m2 of up-to-date accommodation including 48 modern cells, has been intentionally designed to improve local opportunities, life chances and wellbeing for local people.

County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen set an ambitious goal to generate £6m in social value through the scheme by securing local contracts, creating new jobs and increasing opportunities for people to obtain and develop new skills.

Long before the project’s completion date, she said the development has surpassed its original aims with more than £10m now spent with local businesses in the force area - including MGL Group based in Durham, Aspect Facades in Newton Aycliffe and SCH Site Services in Newton Aycliffe.

Read more: Daniel Farm tearoom & farm shop in Wylam announces immediate closure

Furthermore, over £18m of the overall contract was spent in the North East.

On top of this, the project, which has proved conmtroversial, has generated new employment and work experience placements while the team has volunteered more than 150 hours with local charities including housing charity DASH and St Cuthbert’s Hospice.

The PCC, who is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) Joint Lead for Environment and Sustainability, said: “I am proud of the outstanding work that has been taking place to draw out the full potential of this development and leave a positive legacy across our communities.

“When we embarked on this project, I had every faith we would honour our pledge to make a difference. What I wasn’t expecting was how quickly we would exceed our own expectations and build on our commitments with further support for our workforce and communities.

“This is an example of partnership working at its best and shows what can be achieved when public organisations work in tandem with the community and businesses to make their limited resources go even further.”

Paul Ellenor, regional director at Tilbury Douglas Construction, said: “Social value is so important to all of us at Tilbury Douglas and it’s great to see the benefits being returned to the local community from the construction of the new Durham Investigative Hub.”

Contractor MGL Group has allocated a trainee quantity surveyor for the lifespan of the development and recently assigned one of its General Construction Operative (GCO) apprentices to the project.

The Northern Echo: The PCC outside contractor MGL GroupThe PCC outside contractor MGL Group (Image: DURHAM PCC)

The firm has also attended career events, mock interviews and supported local charity events and campaigns as part of its involvement.

Andy Braid, Operations Director for specialist steel contractors SCH Site Services, said the project was helping to keep highly-skilled workers in the North East area.

“All of our site teams are North East based and from the local area,” he said.

“We have a full complement in the factory and on site and everyone has at some stage been involved on this job.

Read more stories here:

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here

“We spend a lot of time trying to keep our workers as close to home as possible. We like to target jobs in the North East and we always have done. This project is close to our hearts with it being in Spenny and so for us, we very much wanted to be a part of it.”

Liam Murray, Estimating/Sales Director at Aspect Facades, added: “We currently have three apprentices who have had direct involvement with this project which has aided both theirs and Aspect’s development as a result. To exceed the original social value target of £10M is a credit to Tilbury Douglas and all involved.”

The Northern Echo: Aspect Facades has has three apprentices working on the projectAspect Facades has has three apprentices working on the project (Image: DURHAM PCC)

Once completed next spring, the hub will provide a range of office space, interview rooms, Crime Scene Investigation provision, evidence stores, virtual courts, CCTV, an energy centre, medical facilities and forensic examination rooms in addition to 48 modern cells.