A new operations and maintenance campus for Great Yarmouth moves ever closer as final preparations are made for construction to begin next month.
Commissioned by Norfolk County Council, the £21.4m partnership project is a collaboration with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and seeks to capitalise on the now well-established offshore renewables sector off the east coast and the Enterprise Zone that covers sites in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Following initial demolition work to prepare the site for development in 2021 a contract was subsequently awarded to Tilbury Douglas for the main construction work, which subject to final planning conditions being met, is due to start from April.
The build is expected to take around 12 months to complete and will see 190m of river quay refurbished and upgraded, along with the creation of new vessel pontoons and delivery of a revised road layout and associated infrastructure to optimise the land available for future development.
As a key investment opportunity under Great Yarmouth’s Town Deal and the borough council’s strategy for economic growth its delivery is expected to provide a welcome boost to the local economy; supporting the delivery of new homes and employment growth in the area.
Councillor Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council and cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure said:
“The offshore energy sector provides Great Yarmouth and Norfolk with arguably the single most important economic opportunity for a generation. Oil and Gas has been a mainstay of the local economy for over 50 years and the recent emergence of offshore renewables has presented Great Yarmouth’s port, its supply chain and its skills base with the chance of enjoying hugely significant growth and investment.
“By preparing the site for further development we hope to harness the full potential of our new river crossing and stimulate much needed housing and employment growth across the region whilst supporting our environmental goals through investment in green energy, made more crucial than ever with domestic energy costs skyrocketing”.
Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “After 50-plus years in the industry, it’s with pride that we say Great Yarmouth is recognised as England’s energy sector capital.
“Alongside a series of major recent investments across the town, this infrastructure investment will provide further potential for the borough, positively impacting local businesses and offering job opportunities to residents as Great Yarmouth’s regeneration and economic growth continues to develop.”
Tilbury Douglas is a leading UK building firm with extensive experience working with local and central government to deliver new infrastructure across a range of sectors.
Paul Thain, Head of Infrastructure at Tilbury Douglas, commented: “We are pleased to be working on this important project, as it brings together our skills in marine, highways and civil engineering, utilising our own resources and equipment. The site office and welfare facilities are now fully established with full construction due to commence from early April”.
New Anglia LEP secured £6m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund for the project, which seeks to utilise land in ownership of the borough council at the southern tip of the South Denes peninsula by making it more accessible and attractive for further investment from companies engaged with offshore wind farm development and maintenance over the coming 25 years.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “I’m delighted to see work beginning on the O and M Campus. Based on one of our Enterprise Zone sites, this is a strategically important project for the region and our world-leading energy sector.
“The project will attract investment and new businesses, create new jobs and help to further secure our coast’s strength as a hub for renewable energy.”
Cllr Mike Smith-Clare, local member for Nelson and Southtown Division added: “I fully welcome any opportunity for Great Yarmouth and its residents to benefit from the growing off shore industry. It is essential that this progress impacts positively on the continuing future of our entire community.”