Hopes of firm taking over Vestas site in Sheerness
Hopes of another big name company taking over the Sheerness site have been raised amid recriminations over Vestas’s decision to abandon plans for a turbine factory and the creation of 2,000 jobs.
The decision, officially blamed on uncertainty over Government subsidies for renewable energy and a lack of orders, was a major blow to the county and Sheppey economy.
However, some observers suggested that recent financial and management turmoil at Danish firm Vestas may also have been a factor.
It sparked recriminations from various organisations, including the Green Party, which attacked “Luddite” MPs and councillors.
However, Swale council had given planning permission recently and Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has been a strong supporter.
Sources close to the project remain hopeful that another specialist company will invest in the site, which is owned by Peel Ports.
Planning permission is in its name and not affected by Vestas’s decision. However, manufacturing may be replaced by assembly work which would create fewer jobs.
Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth said: “We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to conclude the agreement with Vestas.
"However, we remain fully committed to the strategy outlined for the Port of Sheerness of attracting major renewables manufacturers to complement our valued heritage business within the significant footprint of the Port.
“Port of Sheerness’ natural attributes, strategic location and planning consent remain a compelling proposition for major wind turbine manufacturers and will facilitate the delivery of major new investment into the port and the Kent economy.”
RenewableUK expressed disappointment, but insisted that prospects for offshore wind manufacturing and employment in the UK remained high.
Chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “It is vital that all sectors of Government work together to secure the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of investment the UK is set to achieve in the next 5-10 years.”
Source: Kent Online