Plymouth’s Oceangate MEZ is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Work has recently started on the second of three phases of development at the Oceangate Marine Enterprise Zone (MEZ) located in Plymouth in the southwest of England. This is the first MEZ in the UK and the £7.6m contract for building Phase 2 has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund to the tune of £2.25m.

The zone is based in what is known as the South Yard, which was formerly part of the huge Royal Navy dockyard in Devonport, Plymouth. Phase 2 includes a series of buildings including a three-storey office block and 15 light industry units.

Cllr Tudor Evans, the leader of Plymouth City Council, commented: “The second phase was 84% let before being built. It just goes to show that that cluster we’re building there at Devonport is really going to pay dividends for the local economy.”

The construction contract for Phase 2 has been awarded to the Kier Group and it is anticipated that it will take about a year to complete.

Phase 1 of the Oceangate MEZ was finished in April last year and it now hosts eight businesses. One of the businesses that took up residence recently in MECAL, a marine consultancy operation that brings together the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Marine Business Technology Centre.

Among the companies to move into Phase 1 of Oceangate were two that were new to Plymouth, namely Surejust and Trend Marine, the superyacht glass design and manufacturing specialist. The MCA also took space in Phase 1. This phase has provided a total office and industrial space of 2,600sq m which allows up to 21 businesses to be accommodated.

Phase 1 was funded by £1.5m from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) Growth Deal funding; a loan of £5m from the HotSW LEP’s Growing Places Fund and £1.2m from Plymouth City Council.

To complete the MEZ, a third phase will be undertaken and one all three phases are completed, Oceangate MEZ will offer a total of 25,000sq m of flexible employment space and three docks suitable for marine industry dockside operations.

Chris Garcia, chief executive at the HotSW LEP, said: “Oceansgate is one of our success stories in the LEP’s portfolio of Growth Deal and Growing Places funded projects.”

Jake Berry, Minister for Local Growth, said: “Britain’s Ocean City continues to flourish with the new Oceansgate development bringing businesses, jobs and economic growth to the area.”