September 30, 2019 @ 10:28 by Richard Dawson
The site of the former Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend has been put up for sale, over a decade after the last of the shipbuilder’s cranes were dismantled in 2007.
North Tyneside Council, who own the land, hope that the sale of the 32-acre site of one of the North East’s most famous former shipyards will bring new jobs and economic growth to the area.
The proposed sale is the culmination of 10 years of development and significant investment that has brought a number of new facilities to the nearby area, including the £1.9 million Centre for Innovation and Neptune Energy Park, which is home to the National Centre for Subsea Engineering.
The council is now inviting bids for the 1.4 million sq ft. of land, in the hope that the site will attract major new employers who could bring highly skilled jobs in the offshore energy and subsea sectors to the area.
The development site, which has largely been cleared of buildings since 2007, includes an access road and two link roads, a 194m berth facility and dock, two quays, two river berths and former office buildings, which are currently empty.
A document being circulated to prospective bidders reads: “An exciting opportunity has arisen to acquire the long leasehold or freehold interest in the former Swan Hunter shipyard site, Wallsend, North Tyneside.
“The authority is seeking offers and development proposals for occupation by businesses in the offshore energy, subsea and marine sectors and supply chain, in line with the authority’s objectives for the site and planning policy.”
The document goes on to highlight the proximity of the Newcastle College Energy Academy, which provides training to degree level in renewable technologies and subsea engineering, demonstrating how prospective tenants would have access to a pool of newly trained skilled workers.
As well as the actual financial bid, offers will be scored on a range of other criteria, including job creation in the offshore, subsea and marine sector, and what measures will be put in place to ensure it has a positive impact on the communities around Wallsend.
John Sparkes, head of regeneration and economic development at North Tyneside Council, said: “The Swan Hunter shipyard is an iconic site that embodies the proud industrial heritage of Wallsend and North Tyneside.
“The council and its partners have led the regeneration of the site including the creation of the Centre for Innovation, which is home to eight new and existing businesses focussed on the offshore and subsea industries.
“The council wants to see the site kept as a single asset which contributes to its wider regeneration objectives, which include economic growth and will benefit the wider community. Moreover, it is hoped that the benefits of bringing the site back into use will have a positive impact on Wallsend town centre and the wider area.”
Firms have until 12pm on October 25 to send sealed bids to North Tyneside council’s chief executive, Paul Hanson.