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First tenant at former smelter site

Monday 7 January 2013 5:00

Manufacturer Aartoft is moving to the former Rio Tinto smelter site in Lynemouth, which ceased operation earlier this year, as its first new tenant.

The company, which makes concrete bathroom pods for use in the construction of large buildings such as hotels and student accommodation, is taking about 18,000 sq ft of space previously used as the smelter’s garage facility.

The business normally provides employment for 25 people and is moving from a site in Cramlington where it has been based since 2003. The move will provide the additional space to give it the option of doubling the size of the workforce when the economy recovers.

Niels Sandahl, managing director of Aartoft, said: “This is an outstanding location and we are delighted to be the first tenant. It is a secure, controlled environment, with great facilities and transport links.’’

He added: “On a more practical level, we benefit from the fact that there are already cranes on site which will prove invaluable when it comes to moving ready mixed concrete as part of our manufacturing process.”

Rio Tinto has undertaken a Regional Economic Development, RED, programme to bring new job opportunities to South East Northumberland.

John McCabe, regional economic development director for Rio Tinto, said: “We are delighted to welcome Aartoft to Lynemouth. It is a local company that has worked on some great contracts in the past and, while the construction sector is not without its problems, its management team is very focused and sees the advantages of being based at our site.

“The ultimate aim of the RED programme is to attract new investment and jobs to this site.  This may involve several businesses taking over some of our buildings or land and using them for different purposes.

“It is essential we attract the right kind of investment to the site.  We will scrutinise very carefully the expressions of interest we receive because we want to ensure our place is taken at Lynemouth by a business or businesses that share our values and our commitment to the local economic community.”