The Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft (New Anglia) Enterprise Zone yesterday announced that resident company Venko Offshore Ltd has secured a £5m contract to expand its local operation to maintain offshore gas platforms in the North Sea for a world-leading company. The new contract will secure work for almost 20 local Venko staff.
Government Ministers Kris Hopkins and Brandon Lewis today made a special visit to Beacon Business Park on the Enterprise Zone to welcome the news and see construction in progress and meet businesses on the site.
Dutch-owned Venko Offshore Ltd – an international specialist within the energy sectors – moved to the Enterprise Zone in August last year to set up its first UK base after securing a major five-year contract with ONEgas that will create up to 100 jobs in the area.
Today’s contract win is the latest good news for the Enterprise Zone, which has already seen nine companies take up residence and created a total of 270 jobs since it opened in 2012. New Anglia and its partners aim to create 1,500 jobs and secure £20m investment on the site by 2015.
Venko Offshore Ltd chose the Great Yarmouth site because of the Enterprise Zone benefits including rates relief, simplified planning processes and superfast broadband. The Enterprise Zone is one of 24 around the country that support both new and expanding businesses.
Jason Grey, Operational Support Manager at Venko Offshore Ltd, said: “We are very excited to have won this major contract. Although the work is based in the Humberside area, the materials and logistics are all supplied from Great Yarmouth. We have expanded our local workforce to handle the project and been able to retain a number of operational staff as well.
“Moving to the Enterprise Zone is proving to be a solid investment for Venko; it is the perfect base for our UK operation and is enabling us to grow and take advantage of the considerable opportunities in oil and gas on a site specifically designed to meet the needs of energy-related companies. It means we are in a good position to tender for and win these large UK-based contracts.”
Local Growth Minster Kris Hopkins said: “The Venko deal is great news for the Enterprise Zone and the local community. Enterprise Zones are part of our long term economic plan to rebalance the economy, attract new private sector investment, and bring skills training and jobs to new parts of the country.
“It was inspiring to see so much construction underway and to meet the business and apprentices that are helping the Enterprise Zone to grow and become a centre of excellence for offshore energy.”
Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, added: “The Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft ports have been leaders in offshore energy for 45 years. As a minister and local MP I am delighted that the Enterprise Zone is helping to bring more companies and jobs to the area.
“We want to help them further, and that’s why we extended Enterprise Zone’s tax discounts so businesses can continue to grow and create more local jobs.”
New Anglia LEP’s Chairman, Mark Pendlington, who hosted the Ministers’ visit today, said: “There is no doubt that as the East of England continues to recover from the challenges of the downturn, the work of New Anglia LEP in partnership with local firms big and small is establishing our economy as a centre for global talent and business excellence.
“In the last few weeks we have made a clarion call to Government via our Strategic Economic Plan that will release our potential, seize the many opportunities for growth and create new jobs and build skills for the future.
“Therefore the visit of Kris Hopkins MP and Brandon Lewis MP to the Enterprise Zone, and to meet local firms, is an encouragement to our commitment to release the potential in Norfolk and Suffolk. We are proud to show Government Ministers the success that is being delivered now and for the future.
“Venko is a hard working, innovative company which is an example of the real difference being made by investment in the Enterprise Zone. Congratulations to the Venko team and all who have so successfully put growth at the heart of the company’s ambitions.”
George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is more evidence that not just local, but international, companies are seeing the potential in the Great Yarmouth area and are prepared to continue to invest.
“I welcome any deal to bring new jobs to our county and boost our economy. This is another example of putting the region on the map, showing others that Norfolk is a fantastic place to do business and grow.”
Cllr Bernard Williamson, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Regeneration at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “I greatly welcome this national recognition of Beacon Park, its Enterprise Zone status, and Venko’s £5m contract, which are all a boost to the local economy.
“The borough council is investing £8m to build more than 100,000 sq ft of speculative floor space at Beacon Park, which is more widely planned to be a significant growth area, with a sustainable mixture of jobs, infrastructure and community facilities to support the population.
“The first two of four phases of development planned under this £8m are nearing completion. And this week’s ministerial visit also saw the sod-turning ceremony for the third phase – two large industrial units of 15,000 and 20,000 sq ft – with construction set to get underway in two weeks.
“The borough council is currently awaiting the result of a £5.1m bid to the Government’s Building Foundations for Growth fund, which will deliver another four phases of development, and we will be announcing some important private sector developments very soon.”