Ambitious plans have been revealed for a £500 million Montrose development which could bring 2,000 new jobs to Angus.
The renewables sector is at the heart of the Zero Four site – taking its name from the runway of Britain’s first operational military airfield on which it sits – with leisure, conference, retail and a heli-port included in the project.
Planning permission already exists for a mixed use business park but the scheme has gained fresh impetus with the announcement of Crown Estate Scotland’s acquisition of the 123-acre site from Isla Developments for £3.7m.
Crown Estate Scotland – which manages Scotland’s seabed and just under half the foreshore – said the deal forms part of the organisation’s long-term plans to invest in renewable energy and expansion of the blue economy.
Andy Wells, director of property for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “The site holds a great deal of potential and will allow us to build on the strong partnerships we already have in the marine energy and ports sectors.
“This would be good news at any time, but is especially welcome now as we look to kick-start economic recovery following the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this offers a fantastic chance to bring major investment to Montrose and the wider north east region.”
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and securing a sustainable future.
“Crown Estate Scotland’s purchase of the Montrose Zero Four project exemplifies that focus, marking a further major investment that will contribute to long term, sustainable economic development for generations to come and help support a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Isla Developments project director, Kenny Clubb added: “Following purchase of the site in 2018, we immediately recognised the strategic role that the offshore wind sector would play for the region.
“Working with major stakeholders and existing employers already investing heavily in Montrose, including a very forward thinking Montrose Port Authority, the future is well set for the region.”
Montrose port has been selected by SSE Renewables as its preferred base for development of the £6billion Seagreen development off the Angus coast which will become Scotland’s biggest offshore wind farm.
Mr Clubb added: “Having developed the enormous potential of Zero Four with Angus Council through involvement with the Tay Cities Region Deal, the Mercury Programme and One Public Estate Montrose, we are delighted to have concluded the sale to Crown Estate Scotland.
“By handing the development reins over to them it positions the project and the whole region extremely well in terms of a solid and consistent approach between the offshore and onshore sectors, in particular.
“As the whole economy begins to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic, this sends out a most positive statement to all sectors and shows that Montrose is ideally positioned geographically and strategically, but most importantly – ready.”
Angus Council leader David Fairweather said: “This is fantastic news for Montrose and a further ringing endorsement of the huge potential that Angus has through its flourishing role in clean growth through our Mercury Programme.”
“Zero Four, Montrose is an exciting investment opportunity and could not come at a better time, given the pressures and uncertainty spread through the coronavirus pandemic.”
“This crucial multi-million pound, sustainable development in Montrose will further enhance the role of the area and its people in the renewable energy, food production, hospitality and retail sectors and we look forward to working with Crown Estate Scotland and its partners to help deliver this exciting development.”