Detailed plans for Fleetwood’s £20m fish park have been submitted to Wyre Council and if given the green light, work on the ambitious scheme could start by the end of the year.
Bosses from developers Reform Energy are now hoping people will offer feedback which they say is ‘essential’ to the process.
People want to see this happening and the planning application means that things are progressing and we are looking forward to and welcome feedback
And they are keeping their finger’s crossed the plans will be discussed by planners as soon as possible.
Reform Energy spokesman Chris Nelson said: “From our point of view submitting the plans means all our documents are now listed with the council and we hope that they will go before the planning committee at the earliest opportunity.
“We are working closely with Wyre Council to ensure that this is the case.
“People want to see this happening and the planning application means that things are progressing and we are looking forward to and welcome feedback.
“If they are approved we will be able to start on building preparations before the end of the year.”
The huge site earmarked for dockland area will incorporate the fish park and an adjacent £60m energy recovery plant which will power it.
Once planning permission is in place other elements of the project can also move forward.
Initial site works are almost complete on the site of the proposed power station at Jameson Road and construction on both sites is likely to begin early to mid-2016.
The completion date, when both the fish park and power stations become operational, is set for summer 2017.
Details of the scheme, hailed as a ‘Billingsgate of the North’ and offering state-of-the-art facilities for Fleetwood fish merchants and processors, went on public display in May and feedback from the community was encouraging.
Reform says the new fish park could create up to 150 new jobs, and will safeguard around 600 jobs already involved in the fish processing businesses in the town.
Fish processors will be offered the opportunity to move into modern units on the new 13,000sq m development, located on a 10-acre site alongside Amounderness Way and owned by Associated British Ports
Reform Energy plc chief executive John Potter said: “The project is its very early stages but it is progressing well with constructive support in particular from Wyre Borough Council.
“We undertook our own pre-planning consultation in May, and the comments we received and recorded were generally positive, but the planning process will enable local people to formally give their views on our proposal to create the new fish park.
“The combination of sustainable energy generation driving regeneration of a vital local industry is an exciting development for Fleetwood and we believe it will be a template in principle for other Reform Energy projects in the North West and across the country.”
Chairman of Fleetwood Town Council Terry Rogers, welcomed the news but said avenues for training people in fish processing need to be explored.
He added: “I am totally, totally behind this scheme, it will promise jobs and will be a boost to Fleetwood.
“I’m going to be talking to North Lancs Training and also Blackpool and Fylde College about possible training.
“It’s assumed that because of Fleetwood’s fishing background, we have the skills sector in fish processing but that’s not the case.
“We want these jobs to go to Fleetwood people so we need to get training and apprenticeships up and running. That’s what it’s all about, we don’t to find a situation where the jobs are there but there aren’t any locally skilled people.”
Fleetwood MP Cat Smith said: “I welcome the potential for jobs in Fleetwood through the fish park scheme. If residents do have any concerns they should raise them through the planning process.”
Former Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw fought for the scheme for many years.