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Boost for Wells

PUBLISHED: 13:28 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:53 21 May 2010

Wells is set for a major economic boost with proposals to develop the harbour as a gateway for a company developing a £1bn windfarm off the north Norfolk coast.

Wells is set for a major economic boost with proposals to develop the harbour as a gateway for a company developing a £1bn windfarm off the north Norfolk coast.

The town's Harbour Commissioners have already been given a conditional commitment from the developers of the Sheringham Shoal windfarm project for which construction work looks set to start in 2010.

The 88-turbine scheme 17-23 km off the coast is due to pump enough power for 220,000 homes when it becomes operational in late 2011.

One of the major key elements in the project will be the creation of a mini outer harbour at Wells to enable the tidal port to become the main servicing centre for the major project both during and after construction.

The development would create new jobs for people living in Wells and surrounding areas. There would be other benefits through use of local hotels and for local plant hire, building suppliers, electrical contractors and builders.

Commissioners have already secured the necessary funding from the Norwegian company StatoilHydro to provide improved tidal access to the harbour and construct a new outer jetty with pontoons, just south of the lifeboat house in an area known as Buxton's Blight.

Subject to approval, this work is set to start in about a year's time and is due for completion a few months later when the deepened channel at Wells and new commercial jetty will become fully operational.

Preparation for the work is now well under way following successful dredging trials during August and currently the Harbour Commissioners are working closely with the consultants Royal Haskoning to produce a full Environmental Impact Assessment which has to be submitted to the Marine Fisheries Agency for approval.

Plans are also being put into place for the long-term on-going maintenance of the entrance channel at Wells to allow the depths to be maintained at the required levels for commercial vessels.

The development is seen as giving a major boost to the town with the creation of new jobs.

The newly deepened entrance channel will provide benefits for many harbour uses and the new commercial jetty will ease congestion at the quay where space is presently very limited.

A report providing details of the project and information relating to the proposed Environmental Impact study can be viewed on the Wells Harbour website at www.wellsharbour.co.uk. Any comments from the public or questions should be sent to the harbour master Bob Smith at the Harbour Office on Wells Quay before the end of January.

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