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Great Yarmouth’s heliport faces closure with threat to 30 jobs

PUBLISHED: 17:24 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:40 20 January 2015

CHC Helicopter formerly CHC Scotia Limited.
The Caister Road heliport terminal in the North Denes area of Great Yarmouth.

CHC Helicopter formerly CHC Scotia Limited. The Caister Road heliport terminal in the North Denes area of Great Yarmouth.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

An offshore helicopter company has entered into consultation with staff over proposals to close its base on North Denes in Great Yarmouth.

The move by CHC Helicopter, which follows the loss of a major contract with Perenco, places a shadow over the future of about 30 staff in the town.

A spokesman for the company - the world’s largest offshore helicopter operator - said the end of the Perenco contract on March 31 would render the CHC-owned base “economically unviable” although a timetable for the likely closure would be determined through the consultation.

She said the consultation would also consider the possibilities for relocating staff to other CHC sites.

Yarmouth council leader Trevor Wainwright described the news as a “blow” for the borough and said he was seeking a meeting with CHC management.

“We don’t want to see them leave the town,” he said.

Staff had been warned before Christmas that all options concerning the North Denes site were on the table following Perenco’s decision to move from its base in Yarmouth to a new location in Norwich.

When the future of the heliport came under threat in 2011 a campaign to save it was carried out by the borough council.

It was pointed out that the tens of thousands of people who used the Caister Road terminal each year to reach rigs in the North Sea provided a drip-down boost for the local economy.

Added confidence in the future of the base was provided in 2013 when CHC invested £300,000 in improved customer facilities.

At that time Simon Gray, chief executive officer of East of England Energy Group, formally opened the refurbished terminal and the project was hailed for demonstrating CHC’s commitment to long-term investment in the base .

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