AN estimated 1,000 new jobs will be created by a new business park opening at Rye Harbour.
Plans have gone in for the development on 15 acres of land at Rye Wharf.
It could create up to half a million square feet of commercial space and attract new businesses to the Rye area.
The plans coincide with a thriving time at the Wharf as large container ships continue to trade with Rye.
Rod Chapman said: “Thanks to improvement work on the channel we can now take cargo ships of up to 90 metres long, meaning we are able to trade with Portugal and Spain.
“At the moment it is looking like it will be a very good harvest year and if all goes to plan we will be exporting up to 70,000 tons of milling wheat which will be going to a biscuit manufacturer in Germany.”
He added: “ Things are looking very positive indeed. We are already attracting new businesses to the area. Only recently a company, which was based in Tenterden, expanded and relocated to Rye Harbour.”
The first phase of plans at the Wharf was completed last Friday and involved creating a new 1.2 hectare salt marsh nature reserve, working with English Nature.
This was achieved by moving thousands of tons of earth and creating a breach in the sea wall to allow an area to partly flood.
It will provide more habitat for wading birds, prevent the creeks from silting up and maintain biodiversity in the area.
It will also help maintain flood defences in the area.
Rod said: “It was a massive job and cost us a lot of money. The land we donated is worth £125,000 and the works cost £30,000. They would have cost a lot more than that but we had our own clay to use - 20,000 tons of it.”
Plans for the new business park are being supported by Rye MP Amber Rudd who says it will be a huge and much needed boost for the local economy.
Rye town and district councillor Sam Souster said: “Jobs in the area are badly needed.
Rod Chapman has said the design for the proposed business park will be high-tech and modern.
He said: “The buildings will be silver and blue, like those at the Atlas Park, and will be a lot more modern than existing units at the wharf.
Rother Council planning chief Tim Hickling has said that the core planning strategy has identified the need for more commercial expansion in the area.
He said: “The recreation of salt marsh habitat is to be welcomed and accords with local and national policy.”
As well as dealing with importing and exporting, Rye Wharf also provides a base for the Rye Community Transport scheme.
Plans for the new business park will be considered in the coming months by Icklesham Parish Council and Rother District Council’s planning committee.