DEVASTATED campaigners were today in shock after the news that Hartlepool had missed out on its golden target of 800 new jobs for the town.
Spanish wind turbine-makers Gamesa have chosen Leith in Scotland for a massive new manufacturing plant.
But at one stage earlier today, Hartlepool’s dignitaries were gearing themselves for the ultimate in good news.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said the eventual news was “bitterly disappointing.”
He said there were rumours galore this morning that Hartlepool had won the race, adding: “At one stage, we thought we had been successful. It was a huge blow when I got the call saying we had not. It has come as a huge blow, there is no getting away from that.”
But he added: “We shall dust ourselves down, pick ourselves up and show that Hartlepool is more than capable of hosting these big windfarm manufacturers.”
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “This is a blow for the Hartlepool economy and to Hartlepool’s potential but the fundamentals remain. This is one contract, hopefully out of many.
“We have got a skilled workforce that can provide high quality work for the offshore wind industry.
“The fact that we were down to the last two for this contract indicates that we learn the lessons to make sure we win contracts in the future.”
David Robinson, the chief executive of Hartlepool’s dockland owners PD Ports, said: “We thought we had put a very good proposal forward. There was not much more that we could have done.”
He said Gamesa’s rationale for choosing Scotland was that “the overall package was cheaper” and Leith was closer to Gamesa’s target markets.
He added: “We are still very optimistic about Hartlepool. This was an opportunity that was in front of us and we did not win it, but we still believe Hartlepool is a very good proposition.”