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Hundreds of new jobs set for Torbay

Wednesday, 22 November 2023 12:07

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Brixham Harbour (image courtesy: Guy Henderson)

Success in £20 million funding bid

Hundreds of new jobs could be created in Torbay after the government granted the bay’s bid for millions of pounds of levelling up cash at the third time of asking.

Torbay Council leader David Thomas is delighted at the announcement which means Brixham’s fish quay will be enlarged and land at Paignton will be set aside for high-tech fibre optic firms.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for the whole of Torbay,” he said. “It really is about levelling up across Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, and will bring forward many more jobs.”

And Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall, whose constituency includes both sites, said the £20 milliion grant meant the area is at last getting its fair share of funding.

The bid had been dubbed the bay’s ‘Fish and Chips’ project, taking in Brixham’s record-breaking fish market and the microchip sector on the outskirts of Paignton.

Two previous bids for the same scheme had been rejected, but today the minister for levelling up, Jacob Young, said the project was ‘high-quality and ready-to-deliver’.

Brixham Trawler Agents managing director Barry Young said: “This is fantastic news.

“It will enable us to continue to grow our business, employ more local people, work in a safe environment, but most of all help us to serve fishermen around the UK in the best way we can.”

Brixham is currently the most valuable fishing port in England and Wales, while the high-tech EPIC Centre in Paignton is one of the UK’s leaders in the cutting-edge photonics sector.

The £20 million from the government will be supported by an additional £4.8 million from Torbay Council. Of that, £16 million will go on a new fish quay and will double the size of the current auction hall.

It will mean £20 million worth of fish landed within five years and the creation of around 160 new jobs.

The new electronics and photonics production park will cost £8 million, and could generate nearly 150 new jobs. 

Mr Mangnall said: “At last we have succeeded in ensuring that Brixham and Paignton get their fair share from the levelling up fund.

“This recognises the huge opportunities that are to be found within our fishing sector and our high tech industry, and this welcome news will only help to bolster the UK fishing sector and further advance our global leadership in photonics.”

Cllr Thomas (Con, Preston) added: “These new monies bring a total of £105 million of government grant money into the bay and provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring forward our ambitious regeneration plans.

“These new monies help bring forward additional jobs to our towns, together with renewed investment in both our fishing and hi-tech industries.”

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