China gas plant deal welcomed on Fylde coast

The Hillhouse plant
The Hillhouse plant

A planned £500m gas-fired power plant in Thornton which backers say could bring a jobs bonanza to the whole of Fylde coast has been largely welcomed.

Read more: Deal struck for £500m power station

The delegation signing the deal

The delegation signing the deal

Wyre Power Ltd, part of the NPL Group, has announced the signing of an agreement with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) at a high level agreement in the House of Commons.

The power project, to be located at the Hillhouse Enterprise Zone in Thornton, comes with the prospect of some 600 construction jobs and many other longer-term job opportunities, as The Gazette revealed last week.

Thornton Conservative member, Coun Tom Ingham, who represents the Marsh Mill ward, said: “It will be a great benefit to our area, it is always good when a major business is prepared to invest.

“It will be good for the Enterprize Zone as well, it is starting to pick and attract new business.

“A lot of work has made this happen.”

Coun Rob Fail, the Labour councillor for Cleveleys’ Jubilee ward, gave it a cautious welcome and said: “If plans for a gas-fired power station go ahead, it would be great news for jobs in the area, provided the jobs are local.

“Wyre has a massive commute problem, over 45 per cent of workers commuting out of the borough daily.

“The devil is in the detail so we need to wait for that detail to be in the public domain.”

Con Tony Williams, who represents the Anchorsholme ward on Blackpool Council and is the Tory leader of the opposition on the authority, said: “It is absolutely brilliant news for the whole of the Fylde coast.

“The fact that China is investing £500m is a wonderful sign of the confidence they have in the people this area.

“This company has a track record of delivering major projects,

“I congratulate Wyre on puling off this coup – it is just a shame this kind of private investment isn’t being secured in Blackpool.”

On Facebook, the response was also largely positive.

Tony Burman commented: “It’s great news for the area.

“But 600 jobs - most of these will be contractors from away.

“Hopefully some jobs will be taken up by local labour but the majority will be from outside the area unfortunately.”

Eddie McHugh said: “This will be great.”

Chris Warwick responded: “Gas though? Are we living in 1980s?”

China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) is a massive multi-nation concern.

It has already built and owns two power plants in Nigeria.