Sale unlocks the next chapter for Harbour Quay
The long-term future of a section of Harbour Quay in Wick was secured last week when The Highland Council sold the historic buildings to Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), ahead of plans to develop the disused buildings as part of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Base for the Beatrice offshore windfarm development.
This landmark transaction welcomes significant investment and job creation within the Conservation Area of Lower Pulteneytown.
Harbour Quay was one of the priority projects within the Wick Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) with The Highland Council purchasing part of the site in 2002.
Over the next decade The Highland Council secured investment through the Scottish Government Vacant and Derelict Land Fund and worked in partnership with Highland Housing Alliance to investigate all possible uses for the site.
In 2012 grants from Historic Environment Scotland through the Wick CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme) allowed the stabilisation of both buildings and the preparation of a development brief, so the site could be actively marketed as a development opportunity.
Caithness Councillors warmly welcomed the landmark development and speaking on their behalf, Chair of the Caithness Committee, Councillor Roger Saxon said: “I am delighted that a section of the Harbour Quay is to be developed as an integral part of the Beatrice offshore windfarm development. These building once played a vital role in the industrial heritage of Wick Harbour, it is great news they can be redeveloped to service the modern industry of renewable energy in the North of Scotland.
“This site is an excellent example of why a strategic long term approach needs to be adopted when dealing with historically important buildings particularly within a conservation area. It has taken many years to get to this stage but this sale secures these buildings for the next 25 years and beyond.”
Peter Campbell, SSE’s Project Manager, said: “The buildings that BOWL plan to renovate are part of the original harbour area planned by Thomas Telford and are a symbol of Wick’s industrial and maritime past. We are really pleased that we are able to utilise them and help continue that legacy through our £10m investment in the area.
“Work on the O&M Base is set to begin this month and be completed in 2018. In the mean time we will be advertising jobs to help keep Beatrice running, with up to 90 long term jobs ranging from Offshore Technicians to Office Administrators available at the base.”
The £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) project has been given the green light for construction by owners SSE (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) (35%) and Red Rock Power Limited (25%) after reaching Financial Close on 23 May 2016. The project will be one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure.