Appledore shipyard in North Devon to reopen, it has been announced

Appledore shipyard in North Devon will reopen, it has been announced.

The historic Bideford site has been bought for £7 million by London-based firm and owners of Belfast Shipyard Harland & Wolff, Infrastrata.

A new sign to reflect the new owners of Appledore Shipyard Credit: ITV News West Country

Bosses there have confirmed there will be job opportunities for young people and opportunities for both old and new employees to work at the site.

Owners of Appledore, Babcock International, announced the site would close down in March 2019 after losing its contract with Italian shipbuilding company, Fincantieri.

Around 200 members of staff were told they could be made redundant or deployed to Devonport. The announcement triggered a large response from workers, who campaigned tirelessly to save it from closure.

Thousands of people also signed a petition to save the site. Credit: ITV West Country

Since then there has been speculation that the site could be reopened, with numerous reports of potential buyers.

The MP for Torridge and West Devon, Geoffrey Cox QC, said the sale is "excellent news for the local community".

The MP added: "Their purchase of the Yard is excellent news for the local community, ensuring, as it does, the future of the Yard and its workforce.

"I will continue to support the firm and our superb Shipyard to ensure the Government’s strong backing as they develop their business and realise the Yard’s potential.”

Trade Unions UNITE and GMB have both welcomed the news and say the sooner job roles are announced the better.

John Wood, CEO of Infrastrata, said: "I am delighted that the Company has acquired Appledore shipyard and this is another important milestone in the growth of the Company.

"We have been fortunate that these assets have become available. The acquisition at this point in time is opportunistic for the Company and one that should not be missed.

"It not only gives us a strategic foothold in mainland UK but also makes the overall business highly competitive in the smaller and higher ends of the shipyard market, respectively.

"I look forward to growing this business along with our flagship Harland & Wolff (Belfast), with the primary aim of attaining a cash break-even status as soon as possible."

Bosses at Infrastrata have confirmed the site will be employing workers, both old and new, to get the company back up and running.

They have put a new apprenticeship and training programme in place for young people, while they have confirmed some "old faces" will return along with new employees.