Work to build Fleetwood’s new, purpose-built 42,000 square foot modern commercial food processing facility is complete.
The next phase of the project will enable the first tenants to move into their new premises on the site at Fleetwood Dock, expected to be March 2024.
The Neptune Food and Fish Processing Park has been purpose built to create a new home for some of the current fish processing businesses in the port and work is underway to prepare the units for the first tenants to move in. Lease agreements were entered into in August 2023 and work is now underway to fit out to the brand new units with high spec, ultra-modern amenities, including a new fish auction hall and processing factory along with plans for a new Training Academy all helping to boost Fleetwood's economy, safeguard the existing fish processing industry jobs, create up to 100 new jobs and maintain the town's historic links with fishing and the sea.
Over the past three years approximately £8 million has been invested to enable the build of the new facility, which will help to revive Fleetwood Docks and secure the future of Fleetwood’s rich fishing heritage. A truly collaborative approach has enabled the successful delivery of the project, led by Wyre Council in partnership with ABP and facilitated by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, with capital investment from Wyre Council and combined grant funding from the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund, Lancashire County Council’s Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund. In 2022 Artal Construction Consultants were appointed to act on behalf of the FFMA to lead the grant application process with DEFRA as part of the UK Seafood Fund for Infrastructure projects. The successful bid has enabled this next phase of works.
The main works packages for the units at the new site have carbon reduction at the forefront of the design helping to create a more sustainable industry in Fleetwood and include installation of energy efficient plant and equipment, energy efficient cold storage and renewable energy technology such as photovoltaics. It is estimated that these works will reduce the Fleetwood fish industries carbon emission by 522,000 kWh annually, equivalent to 130 tonnes of CO2 and 6,000 trees per annum and all of the new units will have the potential to receive BRC independent food safety accreditation, which will enable access to new markets.
Ambitions for a new Training Academy are also in place with the aim of providing quality training to keep up with demand for a good quality, efficient labour force and attract future generations to the industry. With the new facilities, the Fleetwood Fish Merchants Association (FFMA) have been able to work with other Associations around the country to develop a brand-new training programme, aimed at school leavers with an interest in the industry and upskilling current employees. The FFMA is also developing a new website to promote Fleetwood Fish around the country, bringing door to door fish hawkers more exposure online and creating a far more outreaching customer base around the UK, once again helping to establish Fleetwood as a thriving port.
Patrick Hayton, Director of the Fleetwood Fish Merchants Association and Manager at Midland Fish Company Ltd, commented;
“The Fleetwood Fish Merchants Association has been looking after the interests of the Merchants since 1918, and when the chance arose to deliver purpose-built processing units for the Merchants of Fleetwood, we knew that we had to get behind the project.
“Everyone at Midland Fish are extremely excited about the prospects of a new purpose-built factory and what we will be able to deliver to our existing and new customers. For a number of years, we have been unable to expand, diversify and product test new lines due to the lack of space and a lack of facilities. Our new processing factory in Unit 1 on the site will be state of the art, providing better working conditions for employees whilst at the same time, making the prospects of choosing a career in the fish processing sector a much more feasible option for the younger workforce of the town. With the added benefits of numerous green and renewable energy saving devices, we feel that we are securing the future of Midland Fish Company whilst also playing our part in continuing to lower our carbon footprint and reduce or carbon emissions.”
Ryan Riches Director at Artal Ltd, Project Manager for the site commented;
“We’re pleased to be working with Wyre Council, ABP and FFMA on this project, it’s been a huge success and is a terrific outcome for the Fleetwood Fish Industry, the community of Fleetwood and Wyre as a whole, both safeguarding and driving positive growth of the Fish Industry in Fleetwood for future generations.
“The new units have been designed to enhance processing efficiency within each business, aiding in the increase of fish production and generally creating a better, more energy efficient working environment that will help to attract more people to the industry and ultimately creating a site that the Fleetwood Fish Industry can be proud of and showcase to our customers both nationally and across Europe.”
Leader of Wyre Council Councillor Michael Vincent stated;
“Securing this level of investment to enable the creation of such high-spec facilities in Fleetwood is a huge success and it has been rewarding to watch the growth of this exciting regeneration project. This industry remains one of the biggest employers in Fleetwood and the development of this modern commercial site will help to ensure the continued success, diversification and expansion of the industry in Fleetwood, combining the benefits of sustainable, modern facilities with the rich fishing heritage the town has and marks the beginning of a new era of growth for the local economy.”