Harwich/Brightlingsea: Towns given offshore industry centre status
© Archant 2012
Harwich has been designated a Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE) after a lobbying campaign by local councils.
The town was not originally included in a list of places for the status, which signifies a partnership between central and local government, and local enterprise partnerships, and offers support to businesses in that sector within COREs.
But a campaign by Tendring District Council (TDC), Essex County Council (ECC) and private companies led the decision to exclude Harwich being reversed. Their case was backed by energy minister Michael Fallon.
Brightlingsea has also been included in the designation along with Harwich as a twin area.
The Tendring towns, now part of the South East CORE, join cities such as Liverpool, Tyneside, Teeside which already have the status. Closer to home Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are also CORE towns.
Mick Page, leader of TDC and councillor for regeneration and inward investment, said it is fantastic news.
He said: “Our fight to achieve this special Government status was stepped up last year and we took our case to the very top level.
“Harwich being a CORE will enable us to lobby at the top table and will lead to important recognition.
“It is not about being given any extra funding but it will help us to be at the right place, at the right time to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.”
Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of ECC and county councillor for economic growth, added: “It was surprising that Harwich had been excluded from the exclusive club given its background and relationship with the offshore sector.
“Harwich International Port and local businesses played a significant role in facilitating the construction of wind farms at Gunfleet Sands, Greater Gabbard and London Array.
“However, now it will be represented at key CORE meetings within Government and its profile will be raised at both a national and international level and that should result in significant opportunities for Harwich, Brightlingsea and Tendring as a whole which will aid economic recovery.”
The news follows on from the recent announcement that Harwich, along with other parts of Tendring, has achieved Assisted Area Status (AAS).
Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex which includes Brightlingsea, said: “This is recognition that both Harwich and Brightlingsea are strategically located to support offshore wind.
“We already support such activity from both, this will strengthen our ability to attract more contracts, more work and more jobs.
“It is too soon to say exactly what financial package are going to be available but we are on a much better trajectory and I hope we will see in the coming months and years businesses growing faster and new businesses being attracted to the towns and the wider area.”