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Advance Northumberland have reached a major milestone in the redevelopment of the former Blyth Power Station Enterprise Zone, where work has now begun, following a ground breaking ceremony on the site of Northumberland Energy Park at Energy Central.
The main purpose of this activity is to maximise opportunities to attract investment from the offshore energy sector particularly in light of the UK Governments recent offshore wind sector deal. Recognised as a strategic UK port development site, Northumberland Energy Park is primed to capitalise on offshore energy projects in the North Sea and beyond. The work will bring the site back into use, creating new jobs and further investment to Blyth and boosting the regional economy.
Located on the Blyth Estuary, Energy Central is a fully operational hub made up of world-leading organisations, skills and infrastructure, making it one of Europe’s outstanding investment destinations for those operating in the oil and gas, offshore renewable energy, subsea industries.
Energy Central is led by a partnership of organisations that provide an unrivalled combination of services and opportunities for offshore businesses seeking to locate invest and grow in a fully established port environment. Key partners including Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE) and Northumberland County Council, who have come together to help promote growth and investment opportunities to support investment in Northumberland.
Energy Central brings together quay linked development sites, with access to extensive Port expertise, investment incentives, World class R&D facilities, and national energy infrastructure; underpinned by access to a readymade flexible skills base, a highly connected location and an already recognised offshore energy and fabrication cluster.
As a part of this campaign, Advance Northumberland have made significant progress in bringing forward enabling works on the former Blyth Power Station site in order to facilitate future use of the site. Following acquisition of the site in 2016, Advance Northumberland secured over £4m funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) to invest in the infrastructure works.
Farrans Construction has been appointed as principal contractor to undertake the approved works. This includes works to the Ash Barge Dock to create a fit for purpose deep water berth for larger vessels. The dock works are due to commence during the summer and will involve the widening of the existing dock, excavation of materials and dredging. All works are expected to take 18 months to complete.
Cllr Richard Wearmouth Chair of Advance Northumberland, said: “The start of the infrastructure works is a big step forward for Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland. Moreover it represents a giant leap for Blyth putting the development site on the map for the offshore industry and building upon the Port of Blyth successes. This is a real turning point establishing Northumberland Energy Park's first phase.
Advance Northumberland have delivered on the strategy set early against a history of dereliction and difficulty in regenerating this brownfield site. Advance Northumberland are now focussed on bringing the development to fruition over the next 18 months of construction works which will bring a significant jobs boost locally and help the economy of Northumberland”.
Ray Browning, Programme Manager at the North East LEP, said: “This project has received significant investment from the Local Growth Fund which will enable infrastructure and clean-up works. These important initial works will assist greatly in the attraction of private sector investors to bring the site back into use, creating new jobs and boosting the regional economy”.
The project received £4,440,736 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.