Major piling works begin for new operations campus in Great Yarmouth
A new operations and maintenance campus for Great Yarmouth moves ever closer as major piling works get underway this week.
Commissioned by Norfolk County Council, the £24.8 million partnership project is a collaboration with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which 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.
The project has also recently benefited from an additional £3.4 million County Deal funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) to further develop the site for occupancy.
Councillor Kay Mason Billig, leader of Norfolk County Council 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.
"The potential of this site to enhance our regional economy has been widely recognised by government and demonstrates one of the many benefits an extended County Deal for Norfolk could bring to our region.
"By preparing the site for further development and making it 'tenant ready' which this additional funding will enable, we hope to harness the full potential of both the site and our new river crossing as quickly as possible. This will stimulate much needed housing and employment growth across the region whilst supporting our environmental goals through investment in green energy and help safeguard the UK against recent energy price rises seen in global markets through increased domestic production."
The main construction phase 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.
Tilbury Douglas were awarded the contract for the main construction work earlier this year but ground conditions at the site have required further surveys and preliminary works to be completed before all planning conditions could be discharged.
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.
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, Managing Director at Tilbury Douglas, commented: "We are pleased to be working on this important project for Great Yarmouth, bringing together our skills in marine, highways and civil engineering, utilising our own resources and equipment. We have been carrying out preliminary works on site since April and are delighted to reach this first major milestone".
New Anglia LEP secured £6 million 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.
Rosanne Wijnberg, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: "I'm delighted to see major construction on the O&M Campus get underway. 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."
The site was also recently announced as the preferred location for Vattenfall's operations and maintenance base for the Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone. When completed, Vattenfall's Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone will be one of the largest offshore wind zones in the world. Approximately 130 new, green-collar jobs would be created with staff directly employed for the lifetime of the project which is around 35 years. Recruitment for the new jobs should begin in 2026 and last for around two years.