'International interest' in yard at Whiteness

Offshore wind turbines Whiteness could be used to manufacture offshore wind turbines

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A company selling the former oil fabrication yard at Whiteness, near Ardersier, have said it has drawn interest from international firms.

The site has consent to be reopened for industrial use, but also outline planning permission for a major housing and marina development.

Public agencies have flagged it up as a potential location for the construction of offshore wind turbines.

Whiteness Property Company (WPC) said it was keeping its options open.

Colin Whittle, a company director, said it could be used for fabrication work in the short-term before later becoming a housing development.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "We have private parties who have shown interest and we are responding to enquiries as a consequence."

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have included Whiteness in their National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP).

The document was produced to help guide Scottish government planning and policy.

Sitting on the Moray Firth and extending to 714 acres, Whiteness has a quay and three large sheds.

The site's life as an oil industry construction yard ended in 2002 when owners J Ray McDermott closed it down following almost 30 years of activity.

At its height, more than 3,000 workers were employed there.

Outline planning permission for the housing development was approved in November 2006.

Earlier this year, a charity concert featuring Status Quo and Sugababes was due to be held on the site but was cancelled because of poor ticket sales.

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