Demolition paves way for Great Yarmouth port jobs

The old blue warehouse buildings at the former Bunns site on Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture

The old blue warehouse buildings at the former Bunns site on Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

A fresh bid to create jobs in Great Yarmouth's river port has been launched, as a huge quayside site is cleared.

Bryants Wharf

Bryants Wharf - Credit: Archant

The blue Bunns warehouses on Ice House Quay - a familiar sight from Haven Bridge and South Quay - will be demolished by Christmas.

Bryants Wharf historic

Bryants Wharf historic - Credit: Archant

It comes as the fertiliser plant completed its move to South Denes Road at the end of June, ceasing all activity at the Bunns Lane facility it had operated since 1816.

And now bosses of landowners Brineflow hope to attract a major new player to lease the site off Southtown Road, with possibilities including an offshore firm, light engineering plant or shoreside support hub.

It has a 120m private quay and could house a number of large warehouses, cranes, pontoons and offices.

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John Fuller, a director of Brineflow, said there has been significant interest already, and the growing offshore sector means the future for the town is bright.

'Residents can be assured that the spotlight is coming on Yarmouth,' he said.

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'We've got to make sure skills are on hand and ready and we're looking forward to playing our small part in a large Yarmouth offer.

'The outer harbour is going to be really good for the big stuff, but the river port is an integral part of the offer.'

He added that to secure the interest of international firms, there must be a 'vibrant' mix of supply and support companies in the river port.

'It would show inward investors they can be confident that companies and operators here have the ambition to enable the whole town to take advantage of the opportunity,' he said.

'We're working with leading architects to bring forward proposals large companies would look for.

'Agents have told us the buildings are at the end of their life so we will be demolishing them by Christmas and actively seeking opportunities from offshore energy companies.

'Sites like Bunns Lane are rarely available. We've had quite a lot of interest that indicates how large international companies see Yarmouth as a credible player.'

The company is also marketing the smaller 0.8-acre Bryant's Wharf site to the east of the river, which has been unused for 20 years.

It has an 82m private quay, and used to be home to the Spillers feed mill dog food factory.

Computer generated images show how the area could be used for supply boats, and Mr Fuller stressed the importance of keeping quayside sites free of housing.

While he said he has no concerns about the council's blueprint for locating some housing near to the waterfront - and feels it is important that a plan is kept - he put his thoughts on the quayside firmly on the record.

'Clearly it's a port-related development and that would normally take precedence over residential,' he said. 'The maintenance of the river as an active port is becoming increasingly important as the opportunity of a new generation of offshore energy becomes apparent and alive.

'Housing has a space, but at this point in time port-related activity should take precedence.

'I'm not writing off houses but at this point in time we should be using the land that's closest to the quayside for business.'

While critics said mention of housing along the waterfront gave cause for concern, Mr Fuller said some sites would be suitable for housing over industry.

And he said as long as a common sense approach is adopted he has no issues with it.

Bunn Fertiliser began to relocate from its Bunns Lane site when American firm Koch Fertilizer became its parent company in 2006.

It completed its move to South Denes Road on June 30.

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