Doxford International Business Park
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2008)|
Doxford International is a 125-acre (51 ha) business park located at the A19 / A690 interchange on the outskirts of Sunderland, in the North East of England. Previously it was a greenfield site, it was designated as an Enterprise Zone in 1990 in response to the decline of the area's former ship building and coal mining industries. A partnership between Sunderland City Council and Goodman Property (formerly Akeler Developments Ltd.) has seen the creation of 1,350,000 sq ft (125,000 m2) of high-specification offices, with the private sector partner investing around £200 million. The first buildings were completed in 1992, providing accommodation for a range of businesses that have played a key role in the regeneration of the City.
At the entrance to the development stands the award-winning sculpture Quintisection by the sculptor Robert Erskine FRBS. Standing 26 ft in height (7.9 m) and 14.5 ft wide (4.4 m), it is made in wrought stainless steel, and is based upon a huge cross-section of an ocean liner. Commissioned by Doxford International Business Park, Quintisection was awarded by the Royal British Society of Sculptors the Sir Otto Beit Award for the most outstanding public sculpture, worldwide, for the year 1993/94. Quintesection is the first landmark sculpture to mark the shipbuilding industry of the North East, a region whose communities are famous for 700 years of shipbuilding.
The availability of telecommunications and a skilled workforce has been instrumental in the success of Doxford International, which is now one of the UK's main locations for corporate HQs and contact centres serving the financial and customer service sectors. Around 8,000 people are now employed by a range of blue chip companies.
One business that located on Doxford International is mobile phone operator T-Mobile, part of Deutsche Telekom, which has a customer support centre that now employs around 1,000 people. The site operates as a switching centre, underpinning the company's network between Leeds and Edinburgh.
Also on Doxford International, EDS has established a secure data centre. Citifinancial - part of the USA-based CitiGroup - was one of the businesses that has reinvested in Doxford International, with an expansion project that brought additional jobs to Sunderland. CitiGroup no longer have a presence at Doxford, leaving the site in 2009.
Doxford International has been at the forefront of developments in business property. For example, the award-winning 38,750-square-foot (3,600 m2) Solar Building makes extensive use of photo-voltaic technology to minimise energy consumption. The 25,500-square-foot (2,370 m2) Regus Centre offers offices and meeting rooms, including broadband access. The most recent development at Doxford International is Signature House, which was developed in 2007 to provide a new HQ for Wilcomm Homes, and incorporates speculative office suites for small businesses.
A specialist training facility operated by City of Sunderland College known as the North East Contact Centre Academy is located among the businesses on the site, offering employer-led training in customer service, call handling and line-management, as well as technical skills such as administering IP telephony and voice and data cabling.
EDF Energy has based its main contact centre at Doxford, originally trading at the site as London Electricity.
Doxford International has been developed to provide an attractive working environment for employees. As well as small retail outlets such as Greggs the bakers and a Subway outlet, the Sunderland Health & Racquet Club operated by Esporta provides leisure facilities. Whilst highways access is an asset for the site, there is also public transport, with buses reaching the heart of the business park.
Businesses on Doxford International Business Park
- Barclays plc (UK, Banking)
- More Than (Royal & SunAlliance) (UK, Insurance)
- UK Asset Resolution Ltd (UK, Banking)
- 2Touch (Acxiom Corporation) (USA, Outsourcing Fulfilment)
- EDF Energy plc (France, Customer Service Centre)
- Royal Mail (UK, Contact Centre)
- EE (UK, Contact Centre)
- Sunderland City Council (Local, Contact Centre / ICT)
- 4Projects (Local, Business Software)
- Arriva plc (Local, Public Transport)
- Desco (Design & Consultancy) Ltd. (Local, Consulting Engineers)
- Gentoo Group (Local, Property Development)
- Wilcomm Homes (Local, House Builder)
- Melonite UK Ltd (Local, Telecommunications and Data)
- Andrew and Pete
- Bowmer & Kirkland (UK, Contractor)
- Former EDS (Electronic Data Systems) now HP Enterprise Services UK Ltd (USA, Secure Data Centre)
- Manitowoc Cranes Group (USA, Mobile Cranes)
- Northern Gas Networks Ltd. (UK, Customer Service Centre)
- Invest in Sunderland Sunderland City Council