UP TO 150 jobs could be created after plans were approved for a wind turbine plant on part of a former shipyard in Southampton.

The project, put forward by Oceanic Estates, will see British company Blade Dynamics move into the facility on the former Vosper Thornycroft shipbuilding site.

The site has been extensively marketed since Vospers closed in 2003 - with three planning permissions for its redevelopment failing to materialise.

Oceanic say the plant is the first of a potential series of buildings on the 2.18-hectare site.

Under the plans, a 118 metre-long, 26-metre wide and 13 metre-high plant will be built, with wind turbine blades manufactured on a 24-hour basis.

Delivery hours would run from 7am to 7pm, while external yard works would take place from 7am to 7pm, and until 11pm for some works.

The wharfs and cranes will be operational from 7am to 7pm, and up to 11pm one day a week.

The project was backed by Southampton City Council planning chiefs last night.

The decision was made despite concerns from local residents.

Addressing the panel during public speaking time, Dr Ian White spoke on behalf of residents living along the river front opposite the site.

Dr White said the area is quiet in the evenings and at night, allowing residents to have their windows open and make full use of their balconies.

He added: “We understand the council’s desire to have the site occupied by some form of marine industry, but very firmly believe this should not be at the expense of the rights of those who live in what is now a high-density residential area.

“The fact the site was previously used for ship building, in our view, is totally irrelevant given the extensive change of use of the area, approved by the council, since 2003.”

Rosie Johnson, who lives in Centenary Quay, added: “I believe the noise will keep the children up, even with the windows closed.”

Speaking in support of the proposal, Harry Hutchinson of Oceanic Estates, said: “Planning approval is critical to keeping a viable development and gaining the commitment of a world leading renewables tenant on this site.”

He added that approval would create long-term employment and create a “world class composite and design and manufacturing facility”.

Robert Sanders, director of Blade Dynamics, said the company needed a site which is flexible to be able to accommodate its growing staff and space requirement.

He added: “Centenary Quay fits out requirements very well because it’s good for our current staff as they would not have to move.

“It has direct access to the wharf for loading blades on and off ships and there is flexible space to add further facilities as we grow.”

Mr Sanders stressed that the company was not carrying out high-volume manufacturing.

He added “As a tenant, we would be using the unique location of Centenary Quay by the dockside to its full.”

Mr Sanders said initially, 50 to 60 jobs could be created, but that figure could rise to up to 150 jobs.

The meeting heard that a three-metre acoustic fence would be installed along the site boundary to help quell any noise.