Business occupancy doing well

CIVIC leaders have welcomed the high occupancy levels at two business centres despite the unstable economic climate.

Hartlepool Enterprise Centre (HEC), in Brougham Terrace, has 50 units, offering accommodation to small businesses and in particular new start-up businesses. The current occupancy level is 85 per cent and the businesses include marketing agencies, recruitment agencies, a photographer, engineering and care sector businesses.

Rents at HEC are staggered so there is a relatively low level for the first six months, which then rises to commercial rates.

Newburn Bridge Industrial Estate (NBIE), off Burn Road, has 20 workshop-style units which are let on a longer tenancy and usually renewed after three years. The occupancy rate at that site is currently at 90 per cent.

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, Hartlepool Borough Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development, discussed the occupancy levels at a recent meeting.

Coun Hargreaves said: “It is great to see that these sites are working and that we are helping business to start up and keep them afloat.

“That is down to the way that we do it and the people that do it.”

A report by Mick Emerson, the council’s principal economic development officer (business services) said: “To date, the wider economic situation has not affected the occupancy levels at either property, which is encouraging bearing in mind that little marketing is undertaken.”

The NBIE is made up of units between 550 and 1,100 sq ft and businesses include a building company, joinery business, lawnmower repairer and metalworker.

Mr Emerson added: “Whilst there are no dedicated Hartlepool Borough Council staff on site, the tenants can still benefit from support from the Enterprise Centre and some of the tenants have moved to NBIE from HEC as part of the incubation system.”