Assurances that fisheries labs will stay
WAVENEY have been dealt a jobs boost with confirmation that government fisheries laboratories are planning to stay on the east coast.The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) was one of three agencies involved in plans for the Waveney Campus development, but when the proposals were scrapped in December last year, it was feared that the laboratories would move elsewhere.
WAVENEY have been dealt a jobs boost with confirmation that government fisheries laboratories are planning to stay on the east coast.
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) was one of three agencies involved in plans for the Waveney Campus development, but when the proposals were scrapped in December last year, it was feared that the laboratories would move elsewhere.
Yesterday, marine and natural environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies confirmed that Cefas, which employs about 500 people at its headquarters on Pakefield cliff, is planning to stay in the town.
Mr Irranca-Davies said that Cefas was looking at two possible options for its future. The first involves investing to improve facilities at the current building on Kensington Road with the aim of making the laboratories and offices useable until at least 2017.
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The second option would involve building a scaled-down headquarters on the site bought for the Waveney Campus.
He said: “Cefas is exploring two alternatives to deal with urgently-needed new facilities. Both options are in Lowestoft.”
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The Waveney Campus was being designed to house staff from Cefas, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council, but the idea was scrapped last year because of financial uncertainty.
The land which had been bought for the project, on the bank of Lake Lothing, is owned by Waveney District Council.
A council spokesman said that any inquiries about the land would be considered in due course. “We are happy to hear that Cefas is staying in Lowestoft,” he said.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard welcomed the news, which came after he made a personal inquiry to Mr Irranca-Davies to seek assurances about the future of Cefas in Lowestoft.
He said: “I'm pleased to receive this clear commitment. It quashes speculation that somehow Cefas might leave the town following the abandonment of the campus project.
“Cefas depends on its 530-strong workforce who live locally. All these people couldn't be uprooted en bloc.”