North Tyneside Council is set to be given £3million to spend on phase two of the redevelopment of Swan Hunter’s Yard – but it still won’t be enough to get the £1million ‘white elephant’ crane working.
The authority admitted last week that the £1million crane it bought in 2013 is still in pieces and unused at the yard, because the quay isn’t strong enough to support it.
Next week, the council’s cabinet is expected to accept a raft of grants from the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) for three new projects, however none of them are for the work needed to put the crane into use.
The first of the three projects is offices on the site, which is expected to cost £1,670,000.
The second is to demolish a basement which will cost £500,000, and the final project will see all of the south block buildings demolished to make way for phase three of the development at a cost of £732,740.
The project to regenerate the former Swan Hunter’s Yard is one of the council’s key economic priorities and in 2015 the authority secured £8million from the North East LEP.
For 145 years, Swan Hunter’s Shipyard was the pride of Tyneside and it was the birthplace of 1,600 ships which sailed all around the world.
The shipyard was closed in 1993, which devastated the region. Some 15 years later, the council announced plans to redevelop the area which it has renamed ‘Swans’.
The North East LEP, which is stumping up the £3million, has said that the redevelopment could bring thousands of jobs to the region.
Helen Golightly, executive director at the North East LEP, said: “The North East LEP is supporting the development of the Swan Offshore Energy Park as a strategic development site and enterprise zone.
“Enterprise zone sites are a central tool in our approach to supporting local businesses to grow and attract new businesses to locate in the North East and are already home to over 1,300 jobs and 45 businesses.
“As a riverside location, the Swans site has been put forward and developed as one of a number of sites supporting the growing subsea, offshore and marine sector in the North East, bringing new jobs to North Tyneside and the wider North East.
“To aid this development, the North East LEP board is supporting a range of essential reclamation and infrastructure works on the site using funds from our growth deal approved by Government.
“Most recently this includes a grant to fully refurbish and re-develop the redundant upper floors of the CFI Building following the successful letting of the lower floors that were refurbished in 2015.”
Laura Hill, Local Democracy Reporting Service