Plans to regenerate the former Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend have moved a step closer, after North Tyneside Council named Kier Property as its development partner.
The company has been appointed to market and develop the 34-acre site with the aim of turning it into a high-tech manufacturing scheme.
Director Tom Gilman said: “We’re delighted to have been selected to regenerate this iconic site.
“It has great potential to breathe new life into the area by attracting high-tech businesses, inward investment and creating new jobs.
“The new development will be of particular interest to advanced manufacturing companies who specialise in off-shore activity due to the great location of the site on the north bank of the River Tyne and purpose built high-spec units.”
The site was once responsible for some of the greatest ships of the earliest 20th century, but operations ceased there seven years ago.
The new partners will be responsible for creating a masterplan for premises for rent by employers keen to take up the benefits of the North Eastern Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, such as reduced business rates on a site with 300m of quayside frontage and a simplified planning application scheme.
North Tyneside Council has secured £13.8m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Homes and Communities Agency and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund, which will go towards infrastructure improvements.
The site, likewise, benefits from being one of six Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE), ensuring businesses investing in the industry receive the best support possible.
Chairman of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Paul Woolston said: “This is an important location for the growth of the offshore energy and subsea sectors in the North East.
“The North East has the infrastructure, the skilled workforce and a strong supply chain in the offshore and energy sectors, which gives the site a competitive edge in a global market.”
The government’s Local Growth minister Mark Prisk said: “This site has the potential to attract businesses from around the world.
“I’m confident it will be up and running in no time, creating new jobs for local people and boosting economic growth.”
The Bedfordshire-headquartered Kier Group last year reported revenue of £2,069m and £70m profit.
Elected mayor of North Tyneside Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted that we are able to confirm Kier Property as our development partner for Swans.
“It is now essential that everyone works together to bring in employers who can provide much needed jobs for this borough.”