Ground investigations begin ahead of jetty replacement
Work has started to replace Berwick's crumbling Victorian jetty, thanks to an injection of Â£2million from the Government's Coastal Communities Fund.
The first exciting steps on work to the jetty began with ground investigations on site this week.
The next significant milestone of the project will involve both shore-side work and water-borne work undertaken by a floating barge.
Alan Irving, chief executive of Berwick Harbour Commission, said: “The Port of Berwick is an intrinsic element of the fabric and lifestyle of the community.
“The Coastal Community Fund will not just help save the port from closure and the devastating knock-on effects that would have on the town; it will also give a new lease of life for the port and open up unprecedented economic opportunities to create jobs and promote tourism.”
The timber alignment jetty is an essential navigational aid for ships entering and leaving the Tweed Dock but it is beginning to break up and is slowly collapsing. If it were to collapse, the port would immediately close to all cargo vessels.
It was also badly damaged when it was hit by two ships in 2012.
In April, the Berwick Harbour Commission was awarded the funding by the Department for Communities and Local Government to replace the disintegrating jetty with a modern structure to allow ships of up to 3,500 tonnes to enter the port safely.
Coastal Communities Minister Jake Berry said: “Our fund is helping local communities make investments in their area which will deliver real returns in terms of job creation, regeneration and tourism.
“These works to the jetty will help to secure the Port of Berwick’s long-term future and provide a major boost to the local economy.”
The Port of Berwick is a vital hub for the town’s business and tourist economy.
The project will secure its long term viability and existing businesses operating there, saving 14 current jobs in the Port and, with new income streams, potentially creating 70 new ones.
The award funding will also be used to create a purpose-built landing and boarding facility for cruise ships.
Coupled with a state-of-the-art cruise ship passenger reception centre, this addition represents a significant economic boost to the town.
The number of cruise ship visits during a five-month summer season would equal 2,000 to 4,000 cruise passengers worth £300,000 to £600,000 per annum to the local economy.
Harbour commissioners are confident there is a significant market for visiting vessels, anchored in Berwick Bay. They see the port as the ideal springboard for cruise ship companies to bring passengers to the town but also to visit places such as Holy Island, Bamburgh, Alnwick, Kelso and Floors Castle.
Neighbouring Eyemouth became an approved cruise ship port in 2012 and welcomed its first cruise ship in 2015.
The project is expected to be finished in the late summer of 2018.
The investment at Tweed Dock is part of a wider £40million fund, supporting over 30 projects up and down the coast. It delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitment to support fishing and coastal communities.