Wynyard site shortlisted by motor firm

A COMPANY which makes software for the car industry is sizing up the Hartlepool area for a potential expansion.

Wynyard is one of the sites shortlisted by Manchester-based firm Icona Solutions for a new factory and a jobs boost which could eventually mean 20 new staff.

Company chairman Bob Allsopp told the Mail: “We have been very warmly received and we are looking forward to being part of the community as well as contributing to its growth.”

Icona makes a product called Aesthetica which is a software tool. It allows car firms to see the quality of a finished product by visualising it.

It is used by companies including Nissan, Chrysler, Porsche, Bentley and Fiat.

It started at the University of Leeds and first received funding from a consortium of investors led by the IP Group that specialises in commercialising university technology.

It has now clinched £550,000 from the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund to support its move to the region where it has identified two possible sites for a regional head office. One is at Wynyard and the other is at NETPark in Sedgefield.

Bob added: “I took the opportunity to see the shortlisted sites and both are excellent.”

Icona expects to create five to ten jobs for local people in the next two years with the potential to double its operation after that.

A decision on which site will be chosen is expected in the next six to eight weeks.