Torridge councilors voted enthusiastically to back a pioneering funding bid, seeking around £15million to create the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre, a project that will put North Devon at the heart of maritime developments in the age of Net Zero, and will see the first ever university research center in North Devon.
The centre, at Middle Dock, a neighboring site to the Harland & Wolff shipyard, will make North Devon a world-leading research and development space for next-generation collaborative maritime initiatives.
It will feature cutting-edge research and industry partnerships to bring Plymouth University and other leading university research partners to North Devon. The center will also offer a range of offices, workshops, a wet laboratory and aquaculture tanks to provide modern facilities for local and national businesses to innovate and grow.
The offer to the Leveling Up Fund will be the largest ever submitted by the District Council and is designed to act as a catalyst for local economic growth, providing an anchor for floating offshore wind activity in the north of the Devon.
With a proposed 4GW of electricity to be generated by Celtic Sea Floating Wind (FLOW) developments, which equates to enough energy to power around 3 million homes, FLOW is expected to provide around 3,000 jobs. and £682m in supply chain demand for the South West and Wales.
The maritime sector has played such an important role in the history of the region and this project is seen as a real opportunity to bring Appledore into a global maritime future, inspiring young people in the process and creating real economic benefits in the whole community.
Local schools and education service providers are thrilled to have the opportunity to inspire their learners and address the region’s deep-rooted social mobility issues. Petroc is a key partner in the project and is already developing a range of future sea-focused courses to ensure the best possible skills pipeline for future industry needs.
The proposals are also fully endorsed by the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere. Biosphere Smart’s cutting-edge work is taking a global lead in the growing field of environmental intelligence.
Councilor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council said: ‘First of all, I would like to say how truly delighted I am that our council is developing and bringing to government such a groundbreaking and innovative project, which will serve Torridge and our wider community for years to come. The opportunities around the development of offshore wind generation are expected to be as significant as the supply chain built around the development of the Hinkley C power station in Somerset, which has had a huge impact on local jobs and business prosperity in neighboring counties, which continues to this day. .
“Our goal is to stay one step ahead as the industry is already changing and growing very rapidly. It is great to work with our partners in the Heart of the South West LEP (HotSW), academic institutions, the maritime sector including Maritime UK (SW), local businesses and other public sector bodies in an approach integrated that has such potential. This is clearly one of the most important decisions for jobs and growth that this Council has taken in recent years and we hope that our candidacy will be the catalyst that will unlock the investment needed to carry out these plans. .
Torridge and West Devon MP – Geoffrey Cox QC MP said: “I am pleased to support these funding proposals from Torridge in what I am sure will be a great asset to the district. It is also part of the broader offer that I and others are making to the government, for our region to become a center of excellence for maritime technology and clean energy.
The new facility will benefit from Plymouth University’s cutting-edge expertise and innovation in environmental intelligence, offshore renewable energy, clean shipping and aquaculture.
Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said: “Appledore holds a special place in the history of maritime innovation. This program offers the exciting and authentic perspective of our work to ensure that rich heritage can endure.
“The Middle Dock projects will create a hub where our expertise will continue to be channeled to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while invigorating the local community. By working with our long-standing partners at Petroc, we can also ensure that it increases current levels of achievement while inspiring and educating future generations.
Torridge officers will now work with representatives from academic institutions, local industry and other partners to refine the offer which must be submitted by July 6. An announcement of the winning bids is expected later this fall.
It sounds good ? Have your say on the offer and help the next generation of Torridge – go to www.torridge.gov.uk/maritimeinnovationcentre