Business leaders hail harbour plans

STEPHEN PULLINGER Regional business leaders were last quick to hail the importance of the outer harbour as a catalyst to economic growth.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Regional business leaders were last night quick to hail the importance of the outer harbour as a catalyst for economic growth.

Michael Muskett, regional partner for accountants and business advisers PKF East Anglia described it as "the biggest thing to happen to Yarmouth and Gorleston in perhaps the past 100 years". He said there had never been a better time for businesses to relocate to Yarmouth, with land cheaper than in many other parts of East Anglia and a surplus of skilled labour to fill new jobs.

He said: "Aside from attracting much new private-sector investment, the harbour will generate 1,000 new jobs, and there is the knock-on effect of 120,000 additional visitors to the area - it would be a very shrewd move for any business looking to relocate to look to Yarmouth and claim the best locations in the area now.

"Sceptics who thought they would never see the outer harbour plans come to fruition have been silenced and there is still a real hope that proposals to improve the A47 linking the town to the rest of the UK will bear fruit too."

Billy Allan, chief executive of the offshore company Asco which employs 200 people in Yarmouth, said: "I strongly believe this development will significantly add value to Asco's operation at the port which is strategically important for its ability to service our many oil and gas customers in the North Sea.

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"We envisage the creation of a state-of-the-art facility that will broaden the commercial attractiveness of the port and complement our facilities in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Norway."

He said Asco was already responsible for bringing significant business to Yarmouth, with more than 2,000 vessels being serviced on an annual basis."

Peter Iddon, managing director of First Eastern Counties bus company, said, "The new port will become a vital and important part of the infrastructure of the eastern counties, as we see happening at Norwich International Airport."