The Marine Workshops building in Newhaven

Marine businesses could make waves at historic Newhaven workshops

Newhaven Enterprise Zone has submitted proposals to Lewes District Council to use the Marine Workshops building for maritime businesses, as well as a seafood, aquaculture and specialist fishing skills training centre.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership and Newhaven Enterprise Zone welcomed the news that Lewes District Council and East Sussex College plan to occupy some of the space at the marine workshops, bringing this important local landmark back to life.

Funding totalling £1.3m has also been secured from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to transform the site into a marine hub.

Newhaven Enterprise Zone chairman Graham Peters said: “We are delighted to respond to the call for tenders from Lewes District Council for an operator on the ground floor in line with the vision for founding a Maritime and Sustainable Technology Hub at the Marine Workshops.

“It will be in conjunction with the Lewes District Council’s proposed use of the space to be occupied by East Sussex College and Lewes District Council. Our proposition will provide space for industries involved in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of environmental engineering, maritime products and services, including clean green and marine technologies, to invest in Newhaven.

“It will include a seafood, aquaculture and specialist fishing skills training centre, and interdisciplinary centre for marine social sciences and business support services for maritime businesses.”

Lewes District Council recently published a prior information notice inviting applications to market and manage office units and other floor space at the Marine Workshops. The council is seeking operators to tender for the commercial space, the reception area and a café or bistro. It also wants the building to house marine focused companies, as well as creative, environmental and education or training businesses.

The Marine Workshops in Railway Quay is a Grade ll listed building, which was transformed into a University Technical College. However, this closed in 2019 after only a brief period of use.

The building was constructed in 1882 to house several engineering workshops and was used to repair both train and ship engines, according to Historic England.

Lewes District Council is moving into the building this year, and East Sussex College Group will run courses out of the Marine Workshops including adult education classes to Levels 2 and 3 in science, English and maths and short vocational skills courses in renewables including wind, solar voltaic and hydrogen technologies and marine biology and marine engineering.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership chair Sarah Dance added: “We are delighted to see this important step forward in the Newhaven Maritime and Sustainable Technology Hub project. The awarding of the building to local ownership is key to taking forward this multipurpose site.

“This site has a rich history and it is in a key location, especially for the maritime sector, which has potential to be a key growing industry. With the right investment and support locally, this will create high value jobs in engineering, as well as in clean and green technologies and similar industries for local residents.

“The relocation of Lewes District Council and other business space will also be important for the vitality of the town centre and will provide the modern office space for new, growing companies and support the wider regeneration of the town and investment we are seeing through other activity such as the Town Deal.

“We look forward to visiting in the near future when the new site opens to celebrate this important milestone.”

Read more about Newhaven’s maritime history in The Newhaven Story.

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