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Scrabster redevelopment could create 300 new jobs for Caithness


A £20 million redevelopment of Scrabster Harbour in Caithness which could deliver a major boost for the local economy has been given the green light following new funding support from Clydesdale Bank.

A seven-figure funding package from Clydesdale Bank, delivered as part of its Investing for Growth initiative, will assist Scrabster Harbour Trust with Phase 1 of the project to redevelop the existing fish market pier to create a modern multi-purpose facility.

An additional 9,500 m² quayside space will also be created as well as improved access, deep water berths, heavy lift facilities and fuel and water suppliers. The works commenced at the port in August and are due to be completed by July 2012.

Building from a strong base of current economic activity, the Trust's vision is to develop the harbour into one of the key generators of economic growth in Caithness by positioning it as the port of choice for vessels operating in the seas to the North of Scotland for the fishing, renewables, cruise ship and oil and gas industries.

Over 300 jobs are already dependent on the existence of Scrabster with the economic output of the port assessed as in excess of £30 million. Independent economic research commissioned by the Harbour Trust suggests that the redevelopment has the potential to create 300-400 new jobs in the Caithness area.

William Calder, chairman of Scrabster Harbour Trust, said:

“The harbour is already a major contributor to the Caithness economy and a vital element of the local infrastructure. The decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site will have a severe impact on the area so it is essential that we further develop the facilities and services at Scrabster to ensure that we maximise the economic opportunities it offers.

“Clydesdale Bank’s support for the project has been invaluable. They have taken a commercial but pragmatic approach to the development which is supportive of the Trust’s vision.

“The level of interest they have shown in the business throughout what has been a lengthy process has demonstrated their commitment as has their team’s ability to ask for the right information about the business, manage expectations and to deliver decisions when they were required.”

Hamish Boag, Managing Partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Inverness Financial Solutions Centre (FSC), commented:

“The redevelopment of this vital part of north Scotland’s infrastructure has the potential to deliver enormous economic benefits for the Caithness area and to make a major contribution to growth sectors such as renewables and oil and gas.

“As the Trust’s funding partner we look forward to working with the team to provide short and long-term funding for what is a highly significant project for the area.”

News of Clydesdale Bank’s support for the Scrabster project comes in the wake of the recent announcement that the Bank had funded the multi-million pound acquisition by port and marine services operator Port Services Group of RBG Invergordon’s former fabrication yard in the Cromarty Firth.

Les Clark, Chairman of Port Services Group, said:

“Identifying a new funding partner was a key part of our acquisition strategy. Having spoken to a number of potential funders, Clydesdale Bank showed the most appetite for working with us and the greatest understanding of our business.

“They have an excellent team in Inverness who have been extremely professional in their dealings with us and we have been hugely impressed by their support.”

The deal secured 60 jobs at the Invergordon facility and is expected to create around 200 new posts.

Hamish Boag continued:

“The energy, ports and marine services sectors are key contributors to the economic health of north Scotland. We’re committed to supporting Scrabster Harbour Trust and Port Services Group as they advance their ambitious plans for their respective projects.”

Clydesdale Bank launched its new business support initiative – Investing for Growth – to help successful businesses grow and develop. The support package offers both new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and a more flexible approach to lending.
Loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments and extended loan and credit facilities are just some of the flexible support options available under the Investing for Growth initiative which also includes a dedicated financial planning service.

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