Durham Riverside Renewal

Tree planting marks ‘Topping Out’ at new passport office in Durham City



The developers of Freeman’s Reach have hosted a ‘Topping Out’ ceremony to mark the completion of the structural work on the new building for Her Majesty’s Passport Office.

Representatives from Her Majesty’s Passport Office joined members of the Carillion Arlington Richardsons Development Partnership to place a ceremonial Yew branch in cement as part of a centuries old tradition* to celebrate the progress of the scheme.

Phase two of Freeman’s Reach, which is part of the regeneration of Durham City’s Riverside, is set for completion early next year and contractors, Carillion, are now embarking on the next elements of development including the first stages of the building’s interior and completion of the roofing.

HM Passport Office’s workforce, currently based on the opposite side of the River Wear in Milburngate House, will transfer across to the contemporary and energy-efficient 68,000 sq. ft. building at Freeman’s Reach during 2016.

The new Passport Office will share the environmental credentials of the new National Savings and Investments office at Wearside House and the rest of the development, that will enable Freeman’s Reach to be awarded an ‘A’ Rated Energy Performance Certificate and BREEAM* Excellent status.

It has also become the first UK city centre development to incorporate a fully-operational hydro-power generator. Utilising energy from the River Wear, an Archimedean screw drives a generator, which feeds the National Grid with power that is the equivalent of 75% of the energy requirements of Freeman’s Reach.

The turning Archimedean screw will be visible to visitors from the large public space that will also feature a daytime and evening café/restaurant and access to the Passport Office’s ground floor customer service reception area.

Freeman’s Reach is being developed by a consortium led by Carillion, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP. It is funded by Legal & General.

Neil McMillan, Development Director of Carillion Developments, said: “The Passport Office has been an important part of the social and economic fabric of Durham for many years and we are delighted Freeman’s Reach has been chosen as the new location of its North East regional office continuing its important relationship with the city and the region.

“The construction programme is running to schedule and this ‘Topping Out’ ceremony marks the start of the next stage of development, which will be completed early next year.”

Neil Maughan, North East Area Operations Manager for HM Passport Office, said: “The completion of the structural work is another exciting step ahead of the move to this new office space. Freeman’s Reach will offer a fantastic working environment for our staff, and we look forward to continuing our commitment to providing a high quality public service in Durham when we welcome our customers to the new premises next year.”



CONTACT: Jamie Collis on 01325 363436

Photo caption: Left to right Ian Beaumont (Freemans Reach Project Director), Neil Maughan (North East Area Operations Manager for HM Passport Office), Neil McMillan (Development Director, Carillion), Steve Hunter (Project Director, Carillion) and Pauline Kirk-Harding (Project Team Member for HM Passport Office).

Editor’s Notes:

*In the 14th century it was customary to put a yew tree branch at the highest point of a building to keep evil spirits at bay. The Freeman’s Reach branch will be set in a concrete filled box that will also be sprinkled with wine, oil, corn and salt. This practice dates back to the Persians 5,000 years ago, who used the four symbolic elements to encourage divine spirits to dwell in a new building and bring it to life.

*BREEAM is the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, with 250,000 buildings with certified BREEAM assessment ratings and over a million registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.

About Freeman’s Reach

The development consortium for the Freeman’s Reach project is consists of Carillion and Arlington Real Estate, supported by Richardsons Capital LLP. The project is funded by Legal & General Property.

The development project leader is Allan Cook, Managing Director of Arlington Real Estate. Allan is a North East based regeneration specialist and property developer.

Arlington Real Estate and Carillion also work in partnership on another flagship County Durham development, DurhamGate. Located five miles south of Durham City, DurhamGate is on the site of Black & Decker former UK headquarters and, at 60 acres, is the largest regeneration project in the North East.

According to the Sunday Times 2014 ‘Best Places to Live’ listing:

“Durham is a lovely place to live. Beneath its glorious cathedral, you’ll find pretty cobbled streets stuffed with little independent shops and great watering holes, a beautiful river that carves its way through dramatic walls of rock and greenery, and some attractive house stock – along with a thriving buy-to-let market, thanks to all those students. One of the nicest places to live is South Street, which looks directly onto the cathedral and castle, and which inspired Sir Walter Scott. Many of its terraced houses are grade II listed; prices range from £400,000 to more than £1m.”


About Carillion

Carillion is a leading integrated support services company with a substantial portfolio of Public Private Partnership projects and extensive construction capabilities. The Group had annual revenue in 2014 of some £4.1 billion, employs around 40,000 people and operates across the UK, in the Middle East and Canada.

Carillion is a member of the FTSE4Good Index and in 2013 the Group was awarded Platinum Big Tick status in Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index. It has also achieved an ‘A-list’ position on the 2014 FTSE 350 Climate Performance and Disclosure Leadership Index, placing it within the top echelon of global companies with regard to actions to mitigate climate change.

The Group has four business segments:

Support services – this includes facilities management, facilities services, energy services, utility services, road maintenance, rail services and consultancy businesses in the UK, Canada and the Middle East.

Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects - this includes investing activities in PPP projects for Government buildings and infrastructure, mainly in the Defence, Health, Education, Transport and Secure accommodation sectors.

Middle East construction services - this includes building and civil engineering activities in the Middle East.

Construction services(excluding the Middle East) - this includes building, civil engineering and developments activities in the UK and construction activities in Canada.

This and other Carillion news releases can be found at www.carillionplc.com

Legal & General Property:

Legal & General Property (LGP) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of Europe’s largest institutional asset managers and a major global investor. LGIM manages approximately £465bn in assets on behalf of over 3,100 clients (30 June 2014) and provides products and solutions spanning all asset classes. LGP is the third largest institutional property fund manager in the UK, managing or co-managing 17 separate funds or vehicles including three segregated mandates with an aggregate asset value of £14.5bn as at 30 October 2014. These funds include:

  • Balanced Funds
  • oLife Fund; Linked Pensions; Linked Life; Managed Fund; Legal & General UK Property Fund; UK Property Income Fund I; UK Property Income Fund II; LPI Income Property Fund and the Hybrid Property Fund
  • Specialist Pooled Funds
  • oThe Leisure Fund Limited Partnership; Industrial Property Investment Fund; Arlington Business Parks Partnership; and the English Cities Fund
  • Single Asset Vehicles
  • oBracknell Regeneration Partnership; Central Saint Giles Partnership.

LGP’s UK-focused fund management platform has built and retained a strong track record of out-performance. Owing to its size, diversity and penetration, it benefits from best-in-class banking and property contacts which, along with its wealth of in-house skill and expertise, have enabled it to continue to attract and secure high quality market opportunities.

Taking a client-centric approach, the business places the highest priority upon integrity and transparency, leveraging the significant resources provided by the wider LGIM platform. Protecting the medium to long term value of its portfolio, as a leader in sustainability, green principles are embedded into every property and investment decision.

Sector specialists cover each sphere of the market and are supported by LGP’s market-leading research capability. In particular, the Company has a major development platform, responsible for delivering community-focused projects ranging from West End landmark buildings to significant town-centre retail and leisure regeneration schemes.

Forming part of the Group’s larger UK housing and infrastructure investment strategy, LGP also continues to participate in a growing range of supply side housing activities, including financing affordable homes, the house building sector, urban regeneration, student accommodation and care homes.  

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