£25 million port plan for Ingoldmells could create up to 500 jobs

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SUN, sea, sand and sustainable energy - that could be the exciting new future for Ingoldmells if ambitious plans for a £25 million port go ahead, writes Andrew Hirst.

The 80 berth maritime construction is hoped to enhance the tourism industry while establishing a renewable energy hub servicing the legions of wind turbines off the Lincolnshire Coast.

Owner of Joe’s Beach Bar Simon Adderley announced that energy giant Centrica first approached him three years ago with the intention to build a port on his beach at Ingoldmells point.

He said: “This will put the county on the map and change Ingoldmells from a transitional seasonal economy into an aspirational one which will give its children direction.

“It will also make it the number one tourist resort on the east coast.”

As many as 500 jobs in the leisure and green technology industries could be created by the port. The north side would feature an entertainment pier with possible education and research facilities in renewable energy and marine ecosystems with a service hub for the wind farms on the south side.

A feasibility study identified Ingoldmells as an ideal location for this purpose.

Currently there are 54 turbines off the Lincolnshire coast but this number will rocket to 900 over the next decade to enable the government to achieve its goal of producing 20 per cent of the country’s energy from sustainable sources.

Turbines require servicing seven times a years and currently this is performed by technicians travelling 35 miles by catamaran from Grimsby costing Centrica £2.1 million in fuel each year and offsetting much of the wind farm’s green benefits.

Ingoldmells is the closest coastal access point to many of the scheduled wind farms and unlike much of the surrounding coastline is not designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Its short tides and comparatively deep water also make it a potential location for a port.

Despite its suitability, developments in the energy company’s projects off the east coast in the three years since it first raised the idea, mean it comes too late to be utilised in its current construction projects.

However a Centrica spokesperson said: “We have consent applications submitted for two other projects further offshore, so will be interested to see how this proposal might progress as it could provide additional facilities in the future.

“We have spoken to those behind the project to ask if they will keep us informed.”

In the meantime local politicians remain cautiously optimistic.

East Lindsey District Councillor for the Ingoldmells ward, Coun Colin Davie said: “If it can be delivered then I welcome anything that can bring jobs to the region but I would like to see more about the energy industry’s commitment to turn this into a reality.”