MORE than 800 jobs are set to be created along the River Tyne after plans were approved for a new factory to make parts for offshore wind turbines.
The £50m facility is to be constructed at a yard on Hadrian Road, in Wallsend, North Tyneside, after the scheme was given the green light by a planning committee.
Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN), which is behind the project, says the factory will help to boost the offshore and renewable energy industry.
The new 36,000sqm fabrication unit will be used to produce metal jackets for wind turbines, including the innovative Triton foundation.
Graham Kennedy, director and chief technical officer for OGN and its subsidiary firm Aquind, said: “The achievement of this milestone is excellent news, both for OGN and the North Tyneside area in general. We are delighted that North Tyneside Council has supported this project.
“We will create around 100 jobs during the construction of the facility and then 700 new sustainable jobs for people in its operation, plus many more in the regional supply chain.
“We look forward to working with the council and residents as we take this exciting development forward.”
The fabrication halls at one of the company’s sites at Hadrian Yard will be demolished to make way for the new facility. The factory will have three parallel production lines, each leading to a dedicated painting bay.
An office block and car parking space will be retained and refurbished. Work is still being undertaken with the council on ways to soften the visual impact of the building on the area.
OGN hopes to start construction next year and aims to be up and running in 2014. The unit would have the capacity to produce around three jackets per week.
OGN chief executive David Edwards said: “This project will allow us to satisfy a growing demand from the offshore wind sector in the coming years and create new long-term jobs in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
“I am proud to be able to bring such an opportunity to the region where I was brought up, and I appreciate the support that we have had from the North Tyneside Council in this matter.”
Mark Brooker, senior planner at Storeys Edward Symmons, which submitted the planning application on OGN’s behalf, said they were pleased with the scheme.
He added: “This will create and safeguard jobs in the supply chain, and bring trade to local businesses.”
The project has been welcomed by North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon.
She said: “I’m delighted the proposals have been approved. They provide excellent employment opportunities for people in Tyneside and will help to boost the region’s economy.”