Torbay Council has submitted a bid to secure up to £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to accelerate economic growth locally.

The application, prepared by TDA, focuses on a programme of works that will extend Brixham’s Fish Quay and Market and create a new Electronics and Photonics Production Park. These projects will provide more employment opportunities in key local sectors.

The application has been supported by both local MPs and more widely across the community, including Torbay Together, representing partners from the business, public and community sectors.

Councillor Swithin Long, Torbay Council Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “The projects within our bid highlights our ambitions for Torbay. There are significant opportunities in the fishing and hi-tech sectors and these projects will help drive more high value jobs. Both sectors have high export potential, and this bid uses internationally competitive assets to bring about positive change for our communities.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Torbay Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “It is great to see two significant Torbay projects bidding for this fund. Investment in Brixham’s harbour and fish market would help secure the future of Brixham’s fishing sector which has been badly affected by Brexit and COVID-19. These challenges and the lack of capacity for boats and landings is preventing the sector from significant growth.”

The fishing proposal sets out how land will be reclaimed to extend the harbour and fish market in Brixham. This project will include the delivery of an extra 7,000m² of quayside, creating additional landing space, enabling up to an extra five fishing vessels to off-load simultaneously. It also includes the construction of two new auction halls, doubling the current capacity. These investments could lead to an increase in landed fish value of up to £20 million per year within five years, creating a forecast 150 additional year-round jobs and more than £11 million of GVA per year in fishing and associated activities.

The Hi-Tech sector continues to evolve in Torbay, developing expertise centred on electronics and photonics and providing economic resilience and high value jobs. Building on this internationally recognised local expertise, investment in an Electronics and Photonics Production Park will provide new production and manufacturing facilities at Torbay Business Park. This will provide specialist production facilities, deepening innovation, enabling the growth of key businesses in the sector and attracting further inward investment.
The Electronics and Photonics Production Park will help create more high value jobs in the local area. A new purpose built 2,040m² production centre will accommodate the expansion of a local company, creating 175 new jobs and £18 million GVA. Furthermore, investment in infrastructure will unlock 1.2 Hectares of land, enabling the development of 3,700m² of much-needed manufacturing and production space. This will create an additional 100 new, high-value jobs in the medium term.

Vince Flower, Chairman of the TDA, said: “TDA consulted with stakeholders in February 2021 to understand the priority needs and opportunities in Torbay that would drive forward the economy. The stakeholders included Torbay Council, South Devon College, Torbay Business Forum, Torbay Hi Tech Cluster and Torquay, Paignton and Brixham Chambers. The priorities identified included the need to extend Brixham Fish Market, to enable more activity and employment, and the need to deliver employment land to enable the growth of local businesses, including a dedicated Electronics and Photonics Production Park to support the growth of this specialist, high-value sector. This application responds to these demands and demonstrates to Government how Torbay can respond to the Government’s challenge for places like Torbay to build stronger economies.”

TDA is expecting to learn the outcome of the application in the autumn.