£60m Washington manufacturing hub planned at incinerator site

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Aerial view of the site highlighted in redImage source, Google
Image caption,
The original plan would have seen a renewable energy centre built which would have supplied power to nearby Nissan

A £60m manufacturing hub which could create 1,600 jobs looks set to be built on a site originally earmarked for a "monster" incinerator.

The Hillthorn Park development, near Washington, would create nine buildings over 620,000 sq ft, aimed at businesses including storage and distribution.

It comes after thousands of residents campaigned against proposals for the waste to energy gasification plant.

Although plans needs to be approved the site could be built by 2024.

It is being funded by Legal and General in a deal supported by Sunderland City Council.

The original plan would have seen a renewable energy centre built, which would have supplied power to nearby Nissan and other local businesses.

Councillors later rejected the plans following a public campaign which began in 2017 and the proposals have been withdrawn.

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said the new plans were a "tremendous step forward".

Image caption,
Campaigners hit out over plans to build what they called a 'monster incinerator'

He added: "We have worked with partners to ensure that this site is developed in a way that creates the greatest economic advantage for the city, and this is a deal that will deliver new job opportunities for local people and attract more businesses to Sunderland."

The move has been welcomed by business leaders and campaigners.

Ellen Thinnesen, chair of Sunderland Business Partnership and chief executive of Education Partnership North East, added: "The pace of change in Sunderland is phenomenal and this is yet another reason to be positive about the future."

Estelle Howarth, from the No Monster Incinerator in Washington campaign, said it had been a long battle.

"There is a need for green energy, however the proposed incinerator was not the right solution," she added.

"We will be interested to hear how the local council propose to manage the increase in traffic that the new business park will bring.

"Maybe now is the time to extend the metro to Washington to support this."

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