Harwich International Port - site of the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance base Picture: SEALAND AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY LIMITED
Planning chiefs have given the go ahead for a multi-million pound offshore wind farm base to be built in Harwich.
The flagship project, approved by Tendring District Council (TDC) and the Marine Management Organisation, promises a £10million boost to the local economy coupled with 120 construction jobs.
The state-of-the-art Operations and Maintenance (O&M) base for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, which lies 30km off the coast of Suffolk, will be home to a team of around 60 people who will operate and maintain the farm for its expected operational lifetime of more than 20 years.
Early ground works are planned to commence by the end of the year, and construction of the base and pontoon is expected to be completed in late in 2019.
The base will comprise a control room to monitor and control all wind farm activity, a purpose-built pontoon for project vessels, and warehousing and office facilities including a gym.
The 56 wind turbines at Galloper are expected to generate enough green electricity to power the equivalent of around 380,700 British homes each year.
Sean Chenery, Galloper Wind Farm O&M Manager said: “This is great news, not just for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm but also Harwich, Tendring and the wider East coast as it secures long-term jobs and a significant investment for the area. I’m also delighted that the firms supporting the build of the facility are UK based, with two out of three being from the East coast. These deals are significant contracts worth more than £10 million, so the work represents a valuable boost for the local economy.”
The appointed companies will be responsible for the construction of the base and its associated infrastructure at Harwich International Port.
The preferred bidders are Ipswich-based R G Carter Southern, Jackson Civil Engineering Group, also based in Ipswich, and Farrans Construction.
Zoe Fairley, TDC cabinet member for investment and growth, said it was fantastic news the project would be going ahead.
“This new centre not only offers a £10million investment in our district, securing 60 permanent jobs and around 120 construction roles, but it is also a catalyst for other businesses to locate in the area which are connected to this industry,” she said.
“Harwich is recognised as a Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy by organisations such as the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and this development really kick-starts that.”
Guy Middleton, General Manager of Galloper added: “We have worked especially closely with statutory bodies, the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England to ensure our proposals met all the necessary planning requirements and so we are delighted to achieve consent and are now eager to progress the plans and move the base into its construction phase.”