A partner to drive forward the development of the famous Swan Hunter shipyard site has been revealed.
North Tyneside Council has named Kier Property as the successful development partner that will regenerate the north bank of the Tyne.
The company will now take the lead on developing and marketing the 34-acre site, which is part of the North Eastern Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, to develop a hi-tech manufacturing scheme.
As part of the agreement, Kier Property will actively market the site to attract new hi-tech manufacturing businesses to the area and will build bespoke units to organisations’ specific requirements.
Elected Mayor 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.”
The new partners will deliver a masterplan that will create ready-to-move-into premises for rent by employers keen to move onto the site to take up the benefits of being part of a national Enterprise Zone, such as reduced business rates on a unique riverside site.
The council has already been successful, with ï¿½13.8m of funding coming from the European Regional Development Fund, the Homes and Communities Agency and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund.
This will fund infrastructure improvements, which have already commenced on the site. It will include providing utilities, access improvements, quay edge improvements and dredging to allow for larger vessels to berth.
Tom Gilman, director for Kier Property, 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 hi-tech businesses and creating new jobs.
“The new development will be of particular interest to advanced manufacturing companies who specialise in offshore activity due to the great location and purpose-built high-spec units.”
As it’s an Enterprise Zone, there will be a number of benefits for employers taking up the opportunity to move onto Swans.
This includes five years’ business rates relief for businesses locating on or before the March 31, 2015 and a simplified planning scheme through a Local Development Order, which allows development within set parameters to be constructed without the need for planning permission.
It will also benefit from recognition as one of six Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE) partnerships between central and local government and Local Economic Partnerships, which ensure businesses looking to invest in manufacturing for the offshore renewables industry receive the most comprehensive support possible.
CORE status will result in ongoing joint work between central and local partners to continue to develop these local offers, and unblock barriers to investment.
Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said: “This is the next step towards a bright future for the North Eastern Enterprise Zone, reinventing this former hub of industry as a business-ready centre for low-carbon technology.
With reduced rates, excellent transport and support for renewable industries, 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.”
Paul Woolston, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s great news that the redevelopment of the site is pressing ahead. This is an important location for the growth of the offshore energy and subsea sectors in the North East.”
He added that Kier Property’s arrival as developer meant that the site would become a flagship one in efforts to attract companies to the banks of the Tyne.
He added: “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.”
As the riverside quay will be an essential facility for new tenants on the wider site, North Tyneside Council has also agreed to begin procurement to appoint an experienced quay operator to deliver services at the site on behalf of the council.
The successful bidder will be expected to manage the increased use of the quay expected as a result of the improved facilities on site.
It is now essential that everyone works together to bring in employers