At the end of November, it was confirmed that Torbay had secured £20million in Levelling Up funding from the government.
The latest investment pot from Westminster will finance a Brixham Fish Quay Expansion and a new Electronics and Photonics Park in Paignton after the Town Hall’s so-called ‘Brixham Fish and Hi Tech Chips’ funding bid was finally given the green light.
This £20 million investment, supported by an additional £4.79 million from the Town Hall, will provide £16 million for a new fish quay and will double the size of the current auction hall – unlocking the next generation of growth for the local fishing industry.
£8 million will be provided to build a new Electronics and Photonics Production Park with new specialist production facilities. This will strengthen EPIC’s record of innovation and attract new inward investment.
Torbay Council says the funding will accelerate economic growth locally and provide more employment opportunities in the key local sectors of fishing and electronics and photonics.
Council leader David Thomas, said: “We are delighted to hear this news from Government today that has once again identified Torbay to receive more Levelling Up funding. This brings the amount of funding from the various pots secured for the Bay to over £100 million.
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. This will enable 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 forecasted 150 additional year-round jobs and more than £11 million, adding value per year in fishing and linked activities.
Brixham MP Anthony Mangnall has welcomed the news. ‘Today’s announcement from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities comes after the council’s applications for the first two rounds were unsuccessful. Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young MP, shared the news that the ‘Brixham Fish and Hi Tech Chips’ project is one of the bids which has now been assessed by the department as being high-quality and ready-to-deliver.
Brixham Fish Market has posted Brexit-beating, record-breaking sales figures of £43.5m for the year 2021.
The port’s best-ever year for sales came amid predictions from pro-EU campaigners that leaving the European Union would destroy the UK’s fishing industry.
“We have shown there is a positive story to tell,” said Brixham Trawler Agents managing director Barry Young.
He said the port had succeeded by diversifying markets and increasing domestic sales.
And Brexiteer Brixham MP Anthony Mangnall said the success painted a positive picture for the future prosperity of the port.
In 2019, the value of fish landed at Brixham was £39.2m, then in 2020 the first year of the Covid pandemic saw the figure drop to £35.8m.
Now though, new figures reveal that precisely £43,631,862 worth of fish was landed on the quayside.
The figures will underline Brixham’s position as the most valuable fishing port in England and Wales.
Mr Young went on: “Despite the pandemic and rumours around the impact of Brexit we have seen both our sales to domestic markets and exports to the EU increase nicely.
“We are expecting 2022 to be an even bigger year.
“The combination of life outside of the EU and the pandemic has ensured that we have diversified our markets and looked to new opportunities.
“From increasing our domestic market sales to being well prepared for any bureaucratic changes, Brixham Fish Market has shown that there is a positive story to tell and it is well reflected in these record sales numbers.
“We are looking to see Brixham build upon this success and with some extra investment from the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme and Levelling Up Fund, we can continue to support this noble industry and this historic coastal community.”
Brixham’s fleet is a mix of local day boats and larger beam trawlers which remain at sea for five to seven days at a time.
They fish mainly in the English Channel but also operate in waters as far afield as the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea. There are also a number of scallop boats that operate in local waters all year round.
More than 40 different species of fish are landed, with the main catches consisting of cuttlefish, lemon and Dover sole, squid, monkfish and turbot.
Other species landed include scallops, hake, bass, pollock and plaice.
Crews land their catch on the quayside to be sold at the daily Brixham Fish Market auction which attracts buyers from all around the UK and Europe.
Approximately 70 per cent of Brixham fish is exported to Europe – primarily Holland, France, Spain and Italy.
Mr Mangnall, who recently spent a weekend on board a Brixham trawler to gain first-hand experience of life at sea, added: “Brixham is an important indicator into the health of the fishing industry.
“Brixham Fish Market’s 2021 record-beating sales numbers paint a positive picture about the health of the industry and its potential to thrive over the coming years.
“The fishing community in Brixham and the Brixham Trawler Agents have worked incredibly hard to create new opportunities and ensure that this coastal community would continue to thrive throughout the pandemic.
“Despite the doom-mongering about life outside of the European Union, we have a clear example that shows the opportunities and the benefits that can be found through the UK as an independent trading nation.
“I am proud to represent the hard-working fishers of Brixham and I am doing all I can to help secure further investment into this port and the industry through the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme and the Levelling Up Fund.
“Both funds will help us to increase the size and capacity of the fish market helping us to achieve record sales year-on-year.”
Original story by guy Henderson on DevonLive
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.