Great Yarmouth 'could grow by 20,000' for wind industry

Great Yarmouth from the air (Photo: Mike Page)
Image caption Work on the East Anglia Array, off the coast of Great Yarmouth, is expected to start in 2015

The population of Great Yarmouth could increase by 20,000 - nearly 20% - if it does enough to attract the offshore wind industry, a councillor has said.

Barry Stone, from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, has called for new homes to be built so the town can be a base for the wind farm industry.

He said the houses would accommodate thousands of workers expected to build the East Anglia Array wind farm.

The regeneration plan could see the town's population increase to 120,000.

When built, the East Anglia Array - a series of wind farms about 8.5 miles (14km) off the east coast - will power more than five million homes, according to project leaders ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall.

Mr Stone said he expected the homes to be built "fairly quickly" and that planning permission was already in place to build a new residential area at Beacon Park, in the town's economic enterprise zone.

'Development and growth'

Mr Stone said increasing the number of houses would be the best way to ensure businesses were attracted to the town and the area would "develop and prosper".

"To grow we need to take advantage of offshore renewable wind energy," said Mr Stone, the council's cabinet member for transformation.

"If we can attract [the workers] to Yarmouth because we've got the housing for them to live in, we're going to improve the town's development and growth.

"What we don't want is to see them all disperse amongst other areas in Norfolk - we want to get the benefit of that industry into Yarmouth itself."

It is hoped the offshore wind industry will create 48,000 jobs in East Anglia in 10 years, according to councils in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Work on the East Anglia Array - thought to be one of the largest wind farms in the world - is expected to start in 2015.

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