Fleetwood’s proposed £20m fish park is set to go before planners – and take a giant step towards reality.
As members of the public took their first look at the plans this week, developer Reform Energy was confident the scheme would get the nod from Wyre councillors within a month.
They all see the benefits of this to Fleetwood and we feel confident it will get planning approval this month
That would set the ball rolling for the fish park – and the adjacent £60m energy recovery plant which will power it – to be up and running by early 2017.
Visitors to the public display of plans gave the scheme the thumbs up –saying it would create jobs and safeguard business in the town.
Reform Energy chief executive John Potter said: “The feedback has been so positive, from members of the public to representatives of Lancashire County, Wyre Borough and Fleetwood Town councils.
“They all see the benefits of this to Fleetwood and we feel confident it will get planning approval this month.”
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 public with a display at the Three Lights pub on Herring Arm Way on Tuesday.
And a few new interesting facts were thrown up.
It emerged that although Reform already owns the land where their plant will go, and is soon to acquire the land where the fish park will go from Associated British Ports, a strip of land between the two is owned by gas storage firm Halite. This could potentially have scuppered the scheme, which relies on a direct utilities link for water, electricity, heat between the energy plant and the fish park.
But Reform has managed to secure an “easement” arrangement which allowed a narrow strip of land to connect the two areas.
The plans also showed how the fish park itself would comprise four main blocks, a total of 20 separate units, on the site which is located directly between the fish dock and the Jameson Road wastewater treatment site.
Mr Potter, whose firm is financing the scheme, said: “A lot of people still haven’t been quite sure where the fish park will go. Hopefully these plans will make things clearer.
“Our aim is that Fleetwood will become a flagship enterprise and other developments will follow its example. We’re already looking at two other sites, one in the North West, the other in the South West.
“The energy plant will allow the fish park to use heat, created by the waste recycle, to use on refrigerators and also to cook.
“The money these firms save on energy, which is always a big cost for businesses, will allow them to expand and grow, and take on more staff.”
There is expected to be 40 new jobs in the plant and up to 150 potential new jobs in the fish park.
Earlier this year the scheme was given a £2.5m kickstart thanks to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Among those looking at the plans was Fleetwood businessman James Parr, who owns Farms Parrs Animal World.
He said: “I think its terrific for the town, creating jobs and also safeguarding businesses which are part of the heritage of this town.”
And Fleetwood resident David Whiteside, who also came in to see the plans, said: “Fleetwood has been crying out for this for years.
“It can only be a win-win situation.”
Fleetwood councillor Ruth Duffy did raise questions about possible odours from the energy plant, which will use commercial, non-organic waste such as wood and paper excess.
But she said: “We have heard that it is low odour, that this kind of scheme is running all over Europe in residential areas, and that there seem to be no issues.”
A planning meeting to discuss the proposals is expected to be heard by Wyre Council on June 3.