Swale Borough Council has approved Peel Port’s planning application for the development of a Wind Turbine Manufacturing (WTM) facility at the Port of Sheerness
In 2011, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas negotiated a twelve-month option with Peel Ports to construct a major manufacturing plant at Sheerness, which would have employed around 2,400 people in an area of North Kent with higher than national average unemployment. In the event, Vestas chose not to proceed.
Peel Ports believes that the inherent strengths of their site will be attractive to other major players and have been in confidential discussions with several ‘blue-chip’ international manufacturers. The Port of Sheerness is ready to invest significant capital into improving the infrastructure of the site and is confident of finding a turbine manufacturer and ancillary users.
Gary Parkinson, Managing Director at the Medway Ports said:
“The Vestas decision was disappointing but had nothing to do with the suitability of the site at the Port of Sheerness. Our discussions with leaders in offshore energy and renewables as well as with the Government and local authorities have reinforced our conviction that this is a perfect site for manufacture of wind turbines and related activities.
“The site covers 70 hectares and the planning consent will enable us to upgrade the marine infrastructure and provide berths with up to 100t/sqm load bearing capacity as well as providing outline planning permission for 175,450sqm of buildings with eaves height to 35m. We believe that these benefits will attract a manufacturer to the site as international business confidence improves and government policies on feed-in tariffs and other issues are clarified.”
“The support we have had throughout this period from Swale Borough Council, Kent County Council, Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and Locate in Kent has been extremely encouraging. Local MPs Gordon Henderson and Lorna Sandys have also been supportive, for which we are very grateful. We will continue to work with Government and local authorities to ensure we achieve the right outcome for North Kent.”