ONE OF Britain’s leading boatbuilders has unveiled plans to create up to 200 jobs in Hampshire.

Fairline Yachts is taking over the Hythe complex formerly occupied by Green Marine, which went into liquidation in October with the loss of 50 jobs.

Fairline will use the five-acre yard to build luxury craft including the Targa 63 GTO, which costs £1.5 million.

The company is planning to embark on nine months of building work at the site before launching the new facility at the end of next summer.

Hythe was stunned when Green Marine went out of business after a “significant” order for a super-yacht failed to materialise amid a general slowdown in work.

Now the boatyard in Shore Road is set to employ four times the number of people who previously worked at the site.

Last night Hythe councillor Peter Armstrong said: “It’s the best Christmas present Hythe and the Waterside could have wished for.

“Green Marine is the biggest unit on the Waterside and the arrival of another world-class boatbuilder is brilliant news.”

Fellow councillor Malcolm Wade added: “I’m very pleased that Fairline is taking over the site and providing much-needed employment for local people.”

A Fairline spokesman the site would enable the company to build bigger boats than those coming out of its existing location in Northamptonshire.

He added: “The Hythe facility has deep-water berths and more than 200,000 sq feet of manufacturing space.”

Fairline’s decision to breathe new life into the site was revealed by managing director Russell Currie.

He said: “Clients from across the world are increasingly demanding larger yachts than we have been able to create.

“Our new site will boast state-of-the-art facilities, giving us room to expand and create bigger boats whilst making the most of the existing boatbuilding skills in the location.

“By increasing our manufacturing capabilities across both Northampton and Southampton, we are future-proofing Fairline Yachts and retaining our commitment of investing in British boatbuilding.”

Formerly known as Fairline Boats, the company has seen a remarkable reversal of its fortunes over the past two years.

Fairline failed to put in an appearance at the 2016 London Boat Show after going out of business at the end of the previous year.

It was later brought out of administration by Russian investors Alexander Volov and Igor Glyanenko, who are reported to have paid about £4 million for the company’s assets, and renamed Fairline Yachts.

It staged a comeback at last year’s Miami Boat Show and the following month started production of the new Targa 48 GT, which costs £500,000.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Green Marine went into voluntary liquidation at the beginning of October.

Speaking at the time Southampton insolvency specialist Peter Hall, who was involved in the process, said: “It highlights the issues facing companies which rely on a low number of very high value projects.

“It’s an incredibly emotional time for the directors and employees.”