New future secured for historic Swan Hunter site

An exciting future for the historic former Swan Hunter shipyard has been secured.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 10:00 am
An artist impression of the Swans Energy Park.

North Tyneside Council has sold the site to preferred bidder Shepherd Offshore, who have major plans for the facility.

The new partnership is the latest step over the last few years to bring it back into economic use.

Major investment, both from the authority and in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), has seen a number of significant infrastructure improvements to get the site in a position for future investment.

Back:- Charles Shepherd, Managing Director - Shepherd Offshore; Bruce Shepherd, Chairman - Shepherd Offshore. Front:- Norma Redfearn CBE and Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.

The sale involves the entire 12.94-hectare site on the North Bank of the River Tyne, incorporating access and link roads, a wet berth facility, two quays, two river berths and vacant former office buildings.

The Centre for Innovation (CFI), located on the site, will remain in the ownership of the council.

Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “This is such fantastic news for the future of the Swans site, which I know holds a very special place in the hearts of so many in North Tyneside.

“I am delighted by what we have achieved with the site in recent years and I wish the Shepherds all the best for what promises to be an exciting next chapter in the history of Swans.”

Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP, said: “It’s great news for the people of Wallsend and North Tyneside.

"I look forward to working with everyone concerned to help bring the offshore and energy jobs to the site that has such a great world-renowned history.”

Coun Bruce Pickard, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “The Swan Hunter site is a big part of our Ambition for North Tyneside plan, which sets out how we have regenerated the borough and how we will continue to do so over the next 15 years.

“It is also a huge part of our past – and one we are very proud of.

"We know how much its rich history means to local people and the area as a whole and we have worked hard to preserve and secure it and make sure it wasn’t broken up or turned into a breakers’ yard.

“I am delighted we have been able to secure its long-term future which I hope will result in new jobs and opportunities for people in North Tyneside and further afield.”

Bruce Shepherd, Chairman of Shepherd Offshore, said: “Shepherd Offshore’s plan is to remain supportive to the River Tyne North Bank Strategic Development Framework Plan by continuing to develop critical infrastructure and capacity, allowing the attraction of world class manufacturing and job creation.

“The company’s strategy is to attract businesses associated within the offshore, subsea, marine and energy sectors to the Swan Hunter site to continue enhancing the region’s expertise.”

The former Swan Hunter shipyard has been an important part of the North Tyneside economy since Charles Sheridan Swan opened it in 1842.

The Mauretania was launched in 1907 while high-profile ships like the Ark Royal and Illustrious were built there.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP, said: “This is great news and marks a major milestone in efforts to attract new jobs and investment, particularly from the offshore wind sector, onto this regionally important Enterprise Zone site.

"The Council has made significant progress in getting the site ready for further significant investment.”