PLANS for a multi-million pound offshore windfarm maintenance centre which is set to create 60 permanent jobs have been given the green light.

Galloper Wind Farm Ltd applied to Tendring Council to build the operational and maintenance building on Harwich International Port land in Parkeston.

The facility will include a warehouse, office space for staff and an area where offshore technicians can prepare and change before heading into the North Sea to service the wind turbines.

Construction on the 56-turbine Galloper Wind Farm, which is 30km offshore, was completed earlier this year and has been serviced out of temporary facilities at the port. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power almost 390,000 homes.

The council has granted planning permission for the development, and it is understood it has also been given the go-ahead by the Marine Management Organisation.

Building works are due to be completed by late 2019.

Zoe Fairley, the council's planning boss, said it was fantastic news the project would be going ahead.

“This new centre not only offers a £10million investment in our district, securing 60 permanent jobs and around 120 construction roles, but it is also a catalyst for other businesses to locate in the area which are connected to this industry,” she said.

“Harwich is recognised as a Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy by organisations such as the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and this development really kick-starts that.”

Sean Chenery, Galloper operations and maintenance manager, said: “This is great news, not just for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm but also Harwich, Tendring and the wider East coast as it secures long-term jobs and a significant investment for the area.

“We have had a tremendous amount of support from both individuals and organisations including Tendring Council, the Haven Gateway Partnership, local Members of Parliament and our councillors, not to mention nearby businesses who attended our supply chain events.

"With our base secured, we can now look forward to becoming a fully established member of the community.”