Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We Want It to Be Great Again; New Hopes for the Swan Hunter Shipyard

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We Want It to Be Great Again; New Hopes for the Swan Hunter Shipyard

Article excerpt


TIME was it echoed to the sounds of industry as the world's finest ships were forged.

Now the Swan Hunter yard in Wallsend lies derelict and forlorn.

But it is hoped it could be reborn as a hub for green energy under plans to regenerate the area and create more than 1,000 jobs.

North Tyneside Council, which owns the site, is looking for a partner to invest in the yard.

A contract worth up to pounds 50m is up for grabs for a developer or consortium to build units for the renewable energy and offshore industry. At an open day for interested businesses, representatives of more than 40 companies attended the event.

Mayor Linda Arkley said the site has huge potential not just for the economy of North Tyneside but across the wider region and beyond.

"Our ambition for Swans to be a world-leading manufacturing hub has always been clear - to make this site as thriving and bustling as it once was, but in designing and manufacturing new cutting edge products that will put the north bank at the forefront of the global market for offshore marine technologies," she said.

"The opportunities offered by this site are significant for us all and I know with the right partner the Swan Hunter site can again be world-renowned for manufacturing.

This site was once great. We want to make it great again."

As the land is designated as an enterprise zone, it will benefit from business rate relief. However, the new units must be occupied by March 2015 for tenants to benefit from the scheme.

The council is already taking steps to prepare the site for change and speed up development. It has applied for cash from the European Regional Development Fund for infrastructure work and a Local Development Order is being put together, which will quicken the planning process for work to take place.

In addition, emphasis is being placed on the need to train young people for employment in the industry. Gill Alexander, strategic director for children, young people and learning, said: "We cannot build a world-class manufacturing hub without being able to develop and nurture the skills and talents needed at a world-class level too. …

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