The driving force behind the town’s regeneration and more Consett jobs is Project Genesis that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Now the town has paid tribute to the couple that laid the foundations of what has followed by naming a new urban park and recreation area after them.
Fawcett Park recognises the key role played by development entrepreneurs Jack and Caroline Fawcett in master minding a regeneration programme was launched as Project Genesis in 1994.
Alex Watson, then chief executive at Derwentside District Council, worked with the Fawcett’s to lay a blueprint for regenerating Consett’s derelict steelworks site and the surrounding area.
The Fawcett’s company, Dysart Developments, had made its mark with the show piece Newcastle Business Park and we asked them if they could help us. The town was still at a low point after losing the steelworks and they said they could deliver regeneration.
Since then Project Genesis has attracted £200m of regeneration money for the steelworks site alone and almost £500m has been brought to Derwentside. All at no cost to the taxpayer and that’s a remarkable achievement.
“It is fitting that the new urban park, which will host part of the Coast to Coast cycle route, recognises the part played by the Fawcett’s. The new development that people see taking place all around them today has been made possible by Project Genesis,” said Alex.
Project Genesis is currently overseeing:-
- Further large scale retail development in Consett including a new Tesco superstore due to open in the autumn and a drive through Starbucks
- Plans to build 13 new industrial units at Hownsgill
- Plans for new private and affordable housing
On top of that Project Genesis is now engaged in attracting a further £100m in inward investment to Consett over the next four years,” added Alex. He now represents the town as an independent councillor and sits as a trustee member of Project Genesis development team.