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CTruk looks to expansion

News International-French

12 Nov 2014

The company signed the lease on a 6400m² site on the Colne Estuary, a few miles upriver from its current Brightlingsea base. The company plans to use the Fieldgates site in Haven Road, The Hythe, East Colchester to build the larger vessels required for offshore wind farm projects further out to sea.

CTruk is pressing on with refurbishment of the existing building on Fieldgates in order to move some production activity over early next year. However, the company also has ambitious plans to build a brand new production facility, offices and training centre on the currently derelict site. As such, it has applied for a grant through Round 6 of Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Funding support would see CTruk invest to transform from boat builder to ‘Advanced Composite Technology Centre’ creating over 120 new private-sector jobs (including 15 new apprenticeships) over the next few years.

A ‘green light’ for this project would be great news for The Hythe, an area of Colchester marked for regeneration. CTruk’s plans, which would be substantially complete by the end of 2015, would see the long-derelict Fieldgates transformed into a vibrant manufacturing hub, creating a ripple effect of indirect job creation in the local community as the workforce moves in and grows. It is hoped that the return of a marine based industry to this former port area will act as a stimulus for further new business in the area. It could also provide opportunities for existing companies to supply and support the CTruk development.

The company has garnered widespread support for its plans from, among others, Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell, Colchester Borough Council, The Honourable Bernard Jenkin MP, the Haven Gateway Partnership and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The company is also looking to work closely with Colchester Institute and the University of Essex for recruitment, apprenticeships and technological expertise, fitting with the partnership approach to offshore renewables across the East Coast as part of the CORE network (Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering).

Colchester Borough Council has been working closely with CTruk to help realise an exciting future for the site. The Council and CTruk have also worked in partnership to progress RGF funding, aiming to change perceptions and regenerate the former port area, thereby allowing the local community to benefit from resulting employment opportunities.

CTruk expects a decision on grant funding support in early 2015.

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