Gordon Oliver, mayor of Torbay, has recently cut the turf to start the building of South Devon College’s Energy Centre, based on the Whiterock Business Park in Paignton.

The approval of the ERDF funding has just been announced as the final part of the funding jigsaw. At the ceremony, Stephen Criddle announced the signing of the contract for £2.5m of funding from the ERDF at the Turf Cutting ceremony and explained how without this funding the project could not go ahead.

“We are indebted to the ERDF, as well as all the other funders, who through their funding are enabling us to create such an exciting and important project which will play a major role in growing the low carbon sector in the South West. ERDF funding will support not only the capital build costs of this inspiring new centre, but also the business support and community engagement functions.

“There will also be incubation space integrated into the Centre so that those thinking of setting up businesses in the energy sector will have the expert support they need on hand. We plan to create 400 new private sector jobs through the centre’s activities and to ensure that South Devon is regarded as a hub for low carbon and renewables related businesses – both new and old – to set up and thrive.”

Looking to the future, Oliver added, “In a few years’ time we will be paying £10 for a gallon of petrol – we need new technologies to heat our homes and conserve energy. This centre is at the forefront of new developments – the time is right, and I look forward to coming here again in a year’s time to see this wonderful centre in action. This sort of development is just what Torbay needs to create jobs and reduce unemployment.”