Interest growing in development land at Alcan site

Significant interest has been shown in prime development land the mothballed Alcan smelter site since it was put up for sale.

The 4.4-acre site – which includes farms, residential properties, development opportunities, an operational 13 turbine wind farm and strategic mineral assets – was put up for sale for £20m in June this year.

The move was made after Rio Tinto’s Alcan aluminium smelter site ceased operation last year, which saw 515 workers lose their jobs.

Officials at YoungsRPS, who marketed the site, say there has been significant interest in the portfolio and talks were ongoing.

Graeme Bruce, partner and head of the firm’s Alnwick office, said the closing date for offers had been August 19 but added: “We did have a significant amount of interest in the site.”

Rreports have emerged that the Queen’s commercial property business, the Crown Estate, is one of the companies interested in taking over the site – although YoungsRPS said due to confidentiality agreements, they could not disclose the names of any interested companies.

Speaking in June when the site was advertised, Mr Bruce said: “This portfolio offers many options.

“It is unusual on a number of levels and we are anticipating interest from a diverse range of potential buyers and investors.

“Firstly it provides a rare chance to purchase a large block of productive and well-managed farmland in one location, and as such will undoubtedly appeal to those with commercial farming interests nation-wide and possibly even from overseas.

“Secondly, the location of the land offers a variety of development opportunities as well as income earning potential from the operational wind farm and residential property portfolio.”

The land has been managed as part of the Alcan Farms business since 1973.

It was originally purchased by the company to support operations at the smelter.

Rio Tinto’s Lynemouth site became operational in 1974 at a cost of £54m.

Last year, Rio Tinto sold its power station at Lynemouth to German energy giant RWE.

The deal for the 420-megawatt, coal-fired plant helped to safeguard 120 jobs at the power station.

Meanwhile staff from the Port of Blyth have won a contract to operate a ship terminal on site.

The terminal was maintained following the closure of the Lynemouth plant to import reduced quantities of raw materials and fuel which are then taken by train to the company’s Scottish smelter in Fort William.