Holyhead port owner Stena Line is to abandon plans for a series of huge wind turbines intended to pay for vital repairs to a breakwater.
The ferry company had floated the idea of erecting the turbines close to the breakwater to help generate the £10m it said was needed to repair the crumbling structure which experts fear could be breached by a catastrophic storm within the next few years.
But now that the company has formed a joint venture with London-based property trading and development group Conygar Investment Company for the development of surplus land along the outer Holyhead Harbour waterfront, the plans for turbines are being dropped.
Up to £100m could be invested in mixed use schemes in the Newry Beach area of the harbour in the next few years. Conygar has already acquired both the properties and land associated with Porth-y-Felin House and Soldiers Point at Holyhead and Stena Line has contributed non-operational land that the company owned in and around that area.
Architects are to be appointed to draw up detailed plans, which it is envisaged will include residential, leisure, tourist and retail facilities and also an expanded marina with associated commercial and marine engineering elements.
Business Post understands that the plans will involve a scheme for improvements to the breakwater as a public amenity and that Stena’s earlier proposals to build wind turbines along the length of the breakwater as a way of funding the major investment required for repairs to the structure will be abandoned. The turbines had run into opposition from some residents who objected to the likely noise and visual intrusion.
The 50:50 Conygar Stena Line Joint Venture held its first board meeting recently at Stena House, Holyhead, before board members met Anglesey County Council leader Gareth Winston Roberts and other representatives from the council and the Welsh Assembly Government.
Vic Goodwin, Stena Line’s route director for services between Wales and Ireland, who is also a board member of the new Conygar Stena Line joint venture, said: “The initial board meeting went very well. The next stage will be to prepare outline plans of the proposed development which we hope to have early in the new year.
“These plans will take account of the proposals of the Waterfront Strategy prepared by Anglesey County Council, the Welsh Assembly and the Holyhead Forward Board: we look forward to working closely with all these groups to produce an exciting proposal that will bring significant benefits to the town, the area and the region as a whole.”
Coun Roberts said he believed an expanded marina offered major economic advantages. He added that the combination of strengths that Stena and Conygar brought would stand the ambitious development in good stead.
The land the joint venture wants to develop has more than half a mile of water frontage and covers about 150 acres.
Port owner Stena fears a breach to the breakwater which was completed 134 years ago could cause delays and cancellations to ferry services and loss of a safe anchorage for visiting cruise ships.
by David R. Jones
28 November 2007
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