Harbour set for wind farm upgrades

Councillor Mike Cockerill has spoken about his plans for the harbour'Picture by Karl Hansell
Councillor Mike Cockerill has spoken about his plans for the harbour'Picture by Karl Hansell

Preparations are being made to welcome the wind farm industry to the town.

The Whitby Gazette revealed recently how Councillor Mike Cockerill had been contacted by a company which is interested in using the harbour to provide services to the offshore wind industry.

Should plans go ahead, a wind farm the size of North Yorkshire is set to be constructed at Dogger Bank. With Whitby being the nearest port to the development, the town is expected to have a vital role in the development.

“It is very much the first phase of what could be a mega turning point for the town,” explained Cllr Cockerill.

Therefore, he added that work is underway to prepare the harbour to ensure it is up to scratch.

At first there will be no manufacturing taking place on the site, and it will instead be used as an embarkation point for staff and goods that are to be shipped out to the wind farm.

However, Cllr Cockerill said this does not rule out the possibility of further development. He explained: “It’s more than likely at some stage that somebody will want to build an office block or a crew rest room, but at the moment we are just talking about the pontoon.”

Cllr Cockerill explained how a pontoon may be constructed at right angles to Endeavour Wharf to cater for the services vessels.

Endeavour Wharf is used as a car park and has recently been opened up to allow the public to leave their vehicles there and not just harbour users.

Although a wind farm presence in the harbour would remove a lot of this parking, Cllr Cockerill said most would remain, allowing permit holders to continue using the area.

Following a £250,000 renovation of the Swing Bridge last year, it is expected that the 104-year-old structure will not yet require replacing, although the schedule of openings may need to be altered to accommodate the wind farm vessels.

After years of speculation, Cllr Cockerill explained how he was “over the moon” to finally receive a firm offer from the wind farm company.

The company had been given confidence in the Dogger Bank scheme due to the establishment of a Siemens manufacturing plant on the Humber, which will supply all the components.

It is expected that Whitby will be used in the ‘operations and maintenance’ side of the development, delivering staff and supplies.

Existing users will not be forgotten

Although excited about the potential of the wind farm industry’s presence in Whitby Harbour, Councillor Cockerill said he expects the needs of existing harbour users to be considered.

He said: “We are conscious of our mixed clientele such as fishermen, leisure users and charter fishermen. All are valuable customers and we will continue to do whatever we can to accommodate their requirements.”

Removing car parking in favour of allowing boats to be loaded in the area, Endeavour Wharf would be returning to its original purpose, with space still reserved for the fishing fleet.