Warning that 'hugely disappointing' wind farm staff move will hurt north Norfolk

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick.

North Norfolk District Councillor for Walsingham ward Tom FitzPatrick. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

The relocation of staff servicing the Sheringham Shoal wind farm has been labelled "disappointing", amid fears the move will harm the north Norfolk economy.

And it is thought some jobs will be lost due to the consolidation of workers in Great Yarmouth, away from Egmere, near Fakenham, where they have been based.

Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. Its owner, Equinor, wants to expand it and another wind farm ne

Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. - Credit: www.chpv.co.uk

Tom FitzPatrick, north Norfolk district councillor for Walsingham ward, said the decision by energy firm Equinor to shift 30 employees was a poor one.

Mr FitzPatrick said: “While not unexpected at this point, this is hugely disappointing news in terms of the local economy in this area.

"The only positive is that these jobs will not be lost to Norfolk as they will relocate to Yarmouth.  

“I regret the negative impact this will have, both in terms of local, well-paid employment and the wider impact it will have on the local economy, particularly at this difficult time economically.

"This area did much to support the offshore wind industry in its early days more than a decade ago, which makes the loss of these jobs a real blow."

The Equinor team that services the Dudgeon wind farm, north of Cromer, already work from Yarmouth. 

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A spokesman for the firm did not deny some jobs would be lost, but could not say how many.

He said: "While there have been some changes in roles and work location in the new organisation, we have sought to minimise any requirement for redundancies through internal redeployment and various other measures.  

"This process is still ongoing, therefore we are not able to confirm any numbers."

Richard Kershaw, the district council's portfolio holder for sustainable growth, also called the change disappointing, and said the council was working with Walsingham Estate - which owns the Egmere site - to encourage more businesses to move there. 

Richard Kershaw, Liberal Democrat candidate for Priory in the 2019 North Norfolk District Council el

Councillor Richard Kershaw, North Norfolk District Council's portfolio holder for sustainable growth. - Credit: Supplied by Richard Kershaw

Mr FitzPatrick added: “We now need to look to the future and look to attract businesses who will benefit from these modern offices and other facilities as well as a pool of well-motivated staff in a beautiful rural location and well-situated for access to historic Walsingham, the Port of Wells and the market town of Fakenham.”