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On the Waterfront

NW Evening Mail, 21 May 2010

Promoters of the high quality Waterfront Business Park will make a special effort to point out its attractions to firms coming into Cumbria with a relevance to energy, serving areas such as offshore gas and wind, as well as the nuclear industry.

Roads, services and flexibly sized plots are now installed and available on Barrow Island for a third of the government assisted site, with further development expected to follow soon.

The 60-acre site is being developed by the publicly funded agency Barrow Regeneration, as a crucial part of the town’s Waterfront Barrow masterplan to turn acres of unused former dockland to business, residential and leisure use.

The wider plan includes not only a business park but a marina for 350 boats, a Marina Village with 650 homes, shops, restaurants and a hotel, a water sports centre and a nature conservation area.

The roads, services and plots for a third of the new site are already laid out.

The Waterfront Business Park includes a new road, Harding Rise, only just opened, to take traffic in and out of the business park and docks in a more direct fashion with less nuisance to island residents than the old road.

The BAE shipyard had to be side sliced by agreement and sale, to make space for the new road.

Incomers will be able to tap into the Barrow area’s highly skilled workforce and supply chain.

Bob Pointing, programme director for Barrow Regeneration, said: “I think we have got the prime serviced industrial land site between North Lancashire and Scotland.

“It is the largest site ready and available for industrial development on the Energy Coast.”

It will continue to be called the Waterfront Business Park but will also be promoted as an Energy Coast site.

The development agency Furness Enterprise is promoting the new business park now that Barrow’s other big site, the Furness Business Park, is virtually “built out” after 25 years of incremental growth.

The Waterfront Business Park is expected to create 1,500 jobs over 10 to 15 years. Some will be new jobs from incomers and expansion, other will be the jobs of firms relocating.

So far Furness Enterprise has had 140 inquiries from local and out of town concerns about the Waterfront Business Park. More than 30 of the inquiries are strong and are being actively followed up, with one being a company serving the offshore gas industry.

The first three buildings on the park are expected to go up in this financial year with public cash.

European energy and technology firms will have a close presence to inmates of the park with Dong of Denmark, Vattenfall of Sweden, Siemens of Germany and Vestas of Sweden all having offices across the road in the ABP docks estate.

Mr Pointing wants the Waterfront to “become a magnet for energy related investment”.

“We are trying to get a cluster of energy related companies at that site.

“There would be the good synergy of them being in proximity to each other for networking and even for the supply chain.”

Barrow Regeneration is in the process of seeking the money to go ahead with creating the layout and services for the rest of the park.

The Waterfront is within the Furness Assisted Area so that discretionary grants are available to incomers looking for office, industrial or warehouse units.

 



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