Starting in 2024, a new government base will be built at Brunswick Street. Credit: GPA

Site chosen for Darlington Economic Campus

Brunswick Street has been selected by the Government Property Agency to house the DEC, which will house more than 1,000 officials from six departments in roles relocated from London.

At present, the DEC, which was announced in summer 2021 as a flagship levelling-up policy, is based at Feethams House in the town, where more than 600 staff are already located.

In all 1,139 roles are now committed to Darlington, a number that is expected to rise to 1,400.

Along with being the Treasury’s second base, the DEC will accommodate staff from the Department for Business and Trade, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Office for National Statistics and the Competition and Markets Authority.

They will be working alongside the Department for Education, which already have a base in Darlington.

Construction is expected to begin on the site, which the government has bought, in October 2024 and be completed in 2026. The construction contract tender is expected to be released via the CCS Construction Works Framework in Q4 2023.

The government said that the move of civil service roles to Darlington is expected to generate approximately £30m per 1,000 roles relocated.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said: “Levelling up is about tangible change on the ground and the purchasing of the Darlington Economic Campus land shows that the government is putting down roots in the communities we serve.

“The campus will house 1,400 civil servants and as the Treasury’s second headquarters is a visible signal of levelling up in action.

“It will not only create job opportunities for people in the local area, it also means a Civil Servant could pursue an entire career to the top of their profession without ever moving to London.”

The DEC is part of the government’s Places for Growth (PfG) programme, which is moving roles out of London to areas across the UK.

The programme will see 22,000 roles move from London by 2030. Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office Alex Burghart said:

“The continued success of the Darlington Economic Campus shows that the Places for Growth programme is delivering high quality government jobs across the whole country.

“This is good for the local area and good for the Civil Service, as it ensures that Whitehall can take advantage of the wisdom and experience from people all over the UK.”

Recruiting for the DEC is progressing well, the government said, with several departments currently based in Feethams House.

Civil servants based in the interim facility will relocate to Brunswick Street on completion of the new building. At that point, Feethams House, along with Bishopsgate House, will be used to support the wider DEC.

Clive Anderson, the GPA’s director of capital projects, said: “Working closely with Darlington Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and our clients, we will create unique opportunities for people across Darlington and the North East.

“Investing in a land purchase and a freehold solution, gives us the opportunity to design the hub as a landmark, sustainable, placemaking building, with high levels of inclusivity enabling access by all.”

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