WISBECH:Half a million pound slipway contract for town port awarded to Fenland firm

THE old Wisbech boat slipway, which last saw action many years ago when the famous local boat building firm, Dagless, was in its heyday, is now being brought back to life. Fenland District Council has awarded the £518,000 contract to GB Construction Partn

THE old Wisbech boat slipway, which last saw action many years ago when the famous local boat building firm, Dagless, was in its heyday, is now being brought back to life.

Fenland District Council has awarded the £518,000 contract to GB Construction Partnership Ltd of Murrow to create a new slipway and winch and boat building and repair facility on the site of the old slipway next to the thriving new boat hoist.

Work began this week on re-creating the slipway, installing a new winch and creating additional industrial units on the same site to stimulate marine activity.

The new slipway and winch will enable the council to offer a landing and repair facility for boats up to 100 tonnes. It will be the biggest such facility between the Tyne and Gravesend.


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The new facility, which will be complete by early December, will make a massive contribution to the resurgence of Wisbech's commercial harbour and yacht harbour. It will also complement the yacht harbour's most recent addition, a boat hoist.

The yacht harbour, boat hoist and slipway are all key elements of the ambitious £47million Nene Waterfront Regeneration Project that was the brainchild of the council, in partnership with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), English Partnerships and GO-East who administer European Regeneration Funding.

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Local firm, GB Construction Partnership Ltd, successfully beat off four other tenders for the work from across the eastern region.

Work started on the slipway just two weeks before the iconic Boathouse Business Centre is set to open its doors to knowledge-based businesses.

The combination of the attractive Boathouse Business Centre and extremely competitive, yacht harbour as well as the boat hoist and slipway facilities, are playing a major role in transforming the image and economic fortunes of Wisbech in particular and Fenland as a whole.

The flagging fortunes of the Wisbech economy in the middle of the 20th century coincided with the collapse of the town's boat building industry and decline in the commercial port.

Now, with the yacht harbour attracting a great deal of interest from boat owners across Britain, the Boathouse Business Centre attracting knowledge-based businesses and the commercial port, too, enjoying a resurgence, the future for Wisbech is looking much brighter, despite the current national short-term economic difficulties.

Cllr Mac Cotterell, Portfolio Holder with responsibility for the port, said: "The slipway is the final piece of the jigsaw that will make Wisbech once again a marine hub. All the pieces are now in place for a resurgence of an old, and once very successful, Wisbech industry - boat building and boat repair.

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