Wave of interest in Appledore Shipyard

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Appledore built the bow sections of the Queen Elizabeth, the first of Britain


Wave of interest in Appledore Shipyard as ministers are inundated with plans for vessels to be built there

Appledore built the bow sections of the Queen Elizabeth, the first of Britain’s new aircraft carriers

Ministers are being inundated with plans for vessels to be built at Appledore Shipyard.

Sited at the mouth of the river Torridge near Barnstaple, it has been a shipbuilding hub since 1855, and shut last month when a lease held by defence giant Babcock International ran out.

The shipyard’s owner Langham Industries is now on the hunt for new contracts and business offers so work can restart.

Leaked documents from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) seen by the Mail show an electric ferry, support boats for a tidal energy project in Bristol and two platforms for offshore oil and gas operations are among projects vying to be built at Appledore. 

A 90m vessel for a Polish firm, two fishing boats and the new Isles of Scilly ferry are also among the ventures.

The BEIS document said it has ‘reached the point where we are now receiving unsolicited enquiries’, and these are being worked up into more detailed business plans.

BEIS has put together a consortium, a mix of investors and companies seeking contractual work, and ‘two respected entrepreneurs’ have emerged to lead a business at the yard.

Tim Jones, of the South West Business Council, said: ‘There are encouraging discussions.’

Chris Langham, head of Langham Industries which owns the freehold of the shipyard, said: ‘I’m not aware of all these projects. I think some must be highly speculative. 

‘We stand ready to negotiate with potential operators or consortiums provided they’re in a position to proceed and at the moment that isn’t the case.’

BEIS said it did not comment on leaks.

 

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