The hub is expected to open in 2027. Credit: Cabinet Office

Plans lodged for £118m government hub

The Government Property Agency has submitted plans for a four-storey hub, housing 1,450 civil servants, as the Darlington Economic Campus advances.

When completed, Brunswick Street will form part of a government campus of three buildings, including Feethams House and Bishopsgate House, all located within Darlington town centre.

At present, the DEC, which was announced in summer 2021 as a flagship levelling-up policy, is based largely at Feethams House.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, Alex Burghart, said: “Brunswick Street, situated right in the heart of Darlington, will soon be home to a critical government hub, and as the government footprint in North England continues to grow, we will create further opportunities for people from across the country to work in the civil service.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Darlington as we begin the process of delivering a landmark, sustainable, place-making building which the entire community can take pride in. Not only will this help drive regional economic growth, but it will also ensure that we create a civil service that better represents the diverse communities it serves.”

Construction of the government hub is set to begin later this year and be completed in early 2027.

The hub will increase the total number of Darlington-based civil servants to more than  2,300 – 1,450 of whom will be located in Brunswick Street.

More than 800 civil servants are currently based in Darlington across eight departments, including the Treasury, the Department for Education and the Department for Business and Trade, for which Darlington is a second headquarters.

The DBT itself has more than 250 staff stationed there, more than 200 locally recruited. The Cabinet Office said that Darlington has been a welcome addition to DBT’s Places for Growth network, which now boasts five other locations, including Belfast, Cardiff and Salford.

Clive Anderson, director of capital projects at the GPA, said: “In submitting our planning application, we are a step closer to creating another highly sustainable new government hub which will boost the local economy and see a modern, inspirational and energy-efficient workplace for government departments and their staff attracted to a rewarding civil service career based in Darlington.

“The campus is enabling increased investment in the region and supporting the Government’s Levelling Up and Places for Growth agendas, creating circa 1,400 Civil Service roles and providing future growth opportunities to the North East of England.”

Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Beth Russell, who is based in Darlington, said: “We are already giving hundreds of local people the opportunity to work at the heart of government from here in the north east, making government policymaking more reflective of the communities we serve.”

Jo Crellin, director general economic security and trade relations, also based in Darlington, added: “We’re proud to have a strong presence at the campus in Darlington, with brilliant people working alongside the other departments on campus to support economic growth and help UK businesses across the country. Planning for a new building reflects the success of the whole campus in moving roles to the north east and helping people grow or start their civil service career here.”

This latest development forms part of the Government Hubs Programme which was conceived to support economic growth across the UK, catalyse the regeneration of brownfield sites and repurpose existing buildings to create efficient, sustainable, and productive workplaces.

Other government departments based at the DEC include the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and the Department for Education.

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