Why Bernicia made its home at Ashwood Business Park
The strength of a local workforce and great transport links fuelled Bernicia’s decision to settle on Ashwood Business Park, Ashington for its headquarters and property maintenance division.
Bernicia provides quality homes and services to people in the North East and has a reputation as one of the country’s leading housing providers.
In 2008 Bernicia was formed when Cheviot Housing Association completed a large-scale housing transfer with Wansbeck Homes.
The newly formed group significantly increased the number of homes it managed to around 9,000 properties, with a large number being in the former Wansbeck area in South East Northumberland as well as in North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham and North Northumberland.
The company recognised that it required a new headquarters that could enable it to bring its growing workforce together, as well as provide space for the company to continue its growth.
The company’s housing stock, in geographical coverage, is across the North East as far North as Berwick and down to Teesside. But with concentrations of housing stock in South East Northumberland, the location of Ashwood Business Park was an ideal location for the company.
John Johnston, CEO at Bernicia commented: “The driver for moving to Ashwood Business Park was that we wanted a high-quality, serviced site that had enough space to enable us to develop a state-of-the-art office and direct labour organisation (DLO) facility, as we do a lot of repairs and maintenance as well as management.
“A real advantage of Ashwood Business Park is its connectivity. It is perfectly located on the A189 with great connectivity to the A1 and A19 road links – enabling access to our properties around the region to the north and south.”
Bernicia’s headquarters is home to around 300 employees, who work in the company’s central facilities – IT, HR, finance, assets, support and organisational and development functions – as well as its housing management teams, customer contact centres and facilities for DLO operatives.
Bernicia has two sites at Ashwood Business Park. It has a 33,000 sq ft office building and adjoining this is the DLO facility which is 11,000 sq ft and is the base for its service operatives – though they are rarely all onsite at the same time as they typically work at client sites.
The company has grown significantly since moving to the park in 2012 and now manages 14,000 properties.
John added: “We are a housing association that builds new homes – around 150 per year – and manage existing homes, spending significant sums on repairing and maintaining homes. And whilst we have two local offices in Berwick and Durham the majority of our activity comes out of Ashwood Business Park.
“We have a strong demand for digital connectivity – which thankfully is fantastic at Ashwood Business Park. In recent months, our internal IT function has had to speed up our digital transformation project to enable more flexible working – and this transition has been supported by the broadband coverage available.”
Ashwood Business Park holds Enterprise Zone status – meaning that organisations locating there can benefit from 100 per cent Enhanced Capital Allowances – and is situated at the heart of one of the North East’s strongest manufacturing clusters.
Plots available at Ashwood Business Park, which is one of the largest development sites in Northumberland, are from 50,000 sq ft to 500,000 sq ft. A variety of industrial units can be developed, with tenure options ranging from a freehold sale to a bespoke, turnkey solution on a short-term lease.
For more information on the benefits of Ashwood Business Park visit: