A new £11million facility in Blyth which will create opportunities for thousands of young people and adults interested in working in the clean energy sector has been granted planning permission.
The Energy Central Learning Hub will provide a range of state-of-the-art industrial training, education and STEM-related skills facilities, with construction set to start in October 2022 at Port of Blyth and due to be completed in winter 2023. The new 2,396sqm Hub will include major conferencing capabilities, events space, and a lecture theatre to encourage collaboration between employers, education institutions and research facilities.
This flagship facility will further strengthen the area’s leading role in driving the clean energy revolution.
Part of the £70 million Energising Blyth Programme, the project is funded by Northumberland County Council, HM Government Towns Fund and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.
The project is a key part of the Energy Central Partnership offer to investors in Blyth which aims to secure inward investment, support local growth, especially through the supply chain, enable innovation and increase job opportunities in the clean energy and offshore wind sector. The Partnership includes Northumberland County Council, Port of Blyth, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Advance Northumberland.
The Energy Central Learning Hub builds upon the success of the existing industrial training cluster significantly expanding and adding to the offer of the Port Training Centre and STEM Hub alongside Newcastle University, Northumberland College, the Caboose restaurant and the Tall Ship Project.
The project will also add to the exciting offer to investors, businesses and the community on Blyth Quayside next to the recently delivered, high profile developments at Commissioner’s Quay including the Blyth Workspace, Commissioners Quay Inn, new housing and the ever-popular Ridley Park.
The first stage will involve the demolition of three existing buildings at the South Harbour entrance of the port before starting the new build. The buildings will be removed using a soft demolition technique, meaning noise, vibration and general disruption to residents, businesses, and wildlife, will be kept to a minimum by removing the buildings brick by brick.
This is phase one of Energy Central Campus with a further phase planned in the town centre. Phase two, The Energy Central Institute, is yet to be submitted for planning approval but the proposed project will focus on higher level skills, research and innovation in support of clean energy sector growth.
For the most up to date information on Blyth’s multi million-pound regeneration go to www.northumberland.gov.uk/energisingblyth
For information about Energy Central go to https://www.energycentraluk.co.uk/
Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, Cabinet Member for Business, at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are extremely pleased to see that phase one of the Energy Central Campus in Blyth has been approved. The new Learning Hub will help us to connect the community to all the fantastic opportunities to work in the clean growth sector”
“The expansion of dedicated STEM learning facilities can ensure local schools and residents have the skills to capitalise on the growth of the offshore wind industry.
“This is a major milestone in the overall Energising Blyth programme which aims to revitalise Blyth and make it a leader in the clean energy sector.”
Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive of Port of Blyth commented: “Speaking on behalf of the Energy Central partnership, we are absolutely delighted that planning has been approved for phase one of Energy Central Campus.
“Blyth is such a fantastic location to house a skills, education and training facility and we can’t wait to get started on the build.”
“The new building at South Harbour will create a highly visible and easily accessible public interface with industry and education in the area and provide a pathway into all the facilities on offer at Energy Central for learners and businesses alike.
“We are already in the process of securing which education and training providers could use the campus and the types of learning that can take place at Energy Central Learning Hub. It will be an innovative, industry-led training and skills centre based in the heart of the clean energy cluster of businesses at the Port and will have people from all walks of life training at the hub.
“Given its location, local businesses will be very hands-on when the campus is up and running and we plan to have several vocational options available to people wanting to engage in STEM activities or retrain in the clean energy industry.”
Alan Ferguson OBE, Chair of Blyth Town Deal Board and Owner of Ferguson’s Transport said:
“The news this project has now been approved is welcome news for the community and businesses of Blyth as we continue to build our reputation as a town at the leading edge of the clean energy revolution. The successful development of this project is testament to the support of all our partners in the town through the Town Deal Board and thanks to the backing of our strategic funding partners in the project - Northumberland County Council, HM Government and North of Tyne Combined Authority secured as part of agreeing the Blyth Town Deal.”
Cllr Richard Wearmouth, North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Clean Energy and Connectivity and Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The Green Economy gives us the opportunity to take advantage of a muti-billion pound emerging industry.
“It is vital that we are right at the centre of it to benefit from the jobs, investment and new skills that will be created.
“The Energy Central Campus puts The North of Tyne right at the centre of that revolution.”