£18m price tag for energy hotbed to create 650 jobs
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An ambitious project to make Norfolk a hotbed for the offshore green energy industry - creating 650 jobs - will cost at least £18m, council bosses have revealed.
Council and business bosses believe transforming part of Great Yarmouth has the potential to bring more renewable energy firms to the county.
With offshore energy projects off the Norfolk cost estimated to be worth more than £39bn over the next two decades, council leaders want Yarmouth and Norfolk to benefit.
Last April, they revealed plans to create a Great Yarmouth Operations and Maintenance Campus on the southern tip of the South Denes peninsula and a feasibility study has since been completed.
The campus would include offices, technical areas and storage, along with quayside berths and pontoons.
And, next week, members of Norfolk County Council's Conservative controlled cabinet will be asked to agree to an initial £1m investment in the project - and to give the green light for County Hall to borrow a further £9m towards it.
The project has already secured £6m from the government's Getting Building fund, while Great Yarmouth Borough Council is ready to pump in a further £1m.
The remaining £1m would be drawn from the pool of business rates collected across the county.
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Council bosses say up to 650 jobs could be created at the campus - and it is crucial the county does not miss out.
In a report which will go before members of the council's cabinet on Monday, March 8, they say: "Maritime works are costly, and without public sector support this project will not proceed and we will be less likely to attract the associated investment, economic growth and local jobs.
"There are various proposals at other east coast ports and there is a danger that investment will migrate there unless we create a facility of equal or better status."
Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for growing the economy, said: "The offshore energy sector provides Great Yarmouth and Norfolk with arguably the single most important economic opportunity for a generation.
"This proposal to establish an Operations and Maintenance Campus in Great Yarmouth is a bold initiative which has already received very positive feedback from the industry."