Harwich: Funding bid could transform port
CIVIC chiefs have launched a major �5million bid to attract the windfarm industry to Harwich.
Tendring District Council (TDC) wants the money to build a skills and business centre at the port to support the burgeoning sector.
The bid forms part of a long-term aim to make Harwich a major centre for manufacturing and maintaining wind farm turbines.
Neil Stock, executive director of TDC, said if this objective was realised it could deliver up to 48,000 jobs and add ‘hundreds of millions’ to Harwich’s economny.
He said: “I think it could transform Harwich and the whole of north-east Essex - it’s in desperate need of jobs and employment.”
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TDC are applying to a �1.5billion Government-backed regeneration fund aimed at boosting areas hit by public sector cuts.
Cllr Stock said he was ‘quietly optimistic’ of securing the funding, despite missing out on �60million of Government funding last year because the area was no deemed to be deprived enough.
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He added: “We are obviously trying to put forward a compelling case as possible as to why we should get the money. “But Essex is seen as being affluent so it’s difficult. But there is lots of deprivation to be seen in Tendring and Harwich.
“The overall aim is to secure a windport in Harwich and there are a number of steps we need to take along the way if we are to achieve our goal.
“We need to nurture, develop and secure this industry and investment in our district and a successful bid for the skills centre would be a major step forward.”
A windport can provide facilities for manufacturing, installation and commissioning of turbines as well as operation and maintenance.
Cllr Garry Calver, who represents the Harwich East Central ward, said: “Anything that can increase employment in Harwich has got to be welcomed and everyone should work together to secure that.
“One of the biggest problems Harwich has got is so mnany of its residents actually have to travel outside the town for work and this has a knock-on effect on the economy.
“If genuine employment opportunities can be created like this it would have a massive positive impact on the town, I think.”
The funding application is being jointly co-ordinated between TDC, Tendring Regeneration Limited, Haven Gateway Partnership and Essex County Council.