Work has started on a £30m project to attract businesses to Blyth.
Advance Northumberland has reached a major milestone in the development of the former Blyth Power Station Enterprise Zone.
Work has begun on site following a ground-breaking ceremony on the site of Northumberland Energy Park at Energy Central.
Officials are hoping the park will attract investment from the offshore energy sector.
The work will bring the site back into use, creating new jobs and further investment to Blyth, and boosting the regional economy.
Energy Central is a fully operational hub made up of world-leading organisations, skills and infrastructure, with key partners including Advance Northumberland, Port of Blyth, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE) and Northumberland County Council.
Following acquisition of the site in 2016, Advance Northumberland secured more than £4m funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to invest in the infrastructure works.
Farrans Construction has been appointed as principal contractor to undertake the approved scheme, including works to the Ash Barge Dock to create a fit for purpose deep water berth for larger vessels. The dock works are due to start this summer and will involve the widening of the existing dock, excavation of materials and dredging.
Coun Richard Wearmouth, chairman of Advance Northumberland, said: “The start of the infrastructure works is a big step forward for Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland.
“Moreover, it represents a giant leap for Blyth, putting the development site on the map for the offshore industry and building upon the Port of Blyth successes. This is a real turning point in establishing Northumberland Energy Park’s first phase.
“Advance Northumberland has delivered on the strategy set early against a history of dereliction and difficulty in regenerating this brownfield site. Advance Northumberland is now focussed on bringing the development to fruition over the next 18 months of construction works, which will bring a significant jobs boost.”
Ray Browning, programme manager at the North East LEP, said: “This project has received significant investment from the Local Growth Fund, which will enable infrastructure and clean-up works.
“These important initial works will assist greatly in the attraction of private sector investors to bring the site back into use, creating new jobs and boosting the regional economy.”