Owen plans to bring back shipbuilding to Flintshire

Reporter:

Lois Hough

OWEN Davies is a man with a plan.

The 73-year-old from Connah’s Quay wants to build a shipyard in Flintshire which would create 14,000 jobs and put the county firmly on the map.

His brainchild – Red Dragon Shipbuilding – stems from 30 years in the shipbuilding industry and a passion to end unemployment in North Wales.

Mr Davies’s proposed shipyard, which he has earmarked for 300 acres of land near Connah’s Quay Power Station, would include four building docks, an engine shop, a main office, a medical centre, training centre and a restaurant.

Mr Davies, who took three painstaking days to draw up the plan, has even thought about the finer details such as working hours, holidays and the number of canteen staff.

He says Red Dragon Shipbuilding would cost about £840 million to bring to fruition and has submitted a detailed business plan to politicians.

“I’m very serious about this,” he said. “I want to get as many people out of employment as I can, and the shipyard would bring huge amounts of money into North Wales.

“We have excellent access to the proposed shipyard – the North Wales rail line, the A548 and the A55, Mostyn Dock and Hawarden Airport.”

Born in Lincolnshire, Mr Davies joined the army aged 19 and served with the Somerset Light Infantry from 1956-58.

He worked at The Naval Construction Research Establishment in Rosyth, Scotland, before he was transferred to the Admiralty in Bath.

He later spent 22 years as an auditor at Cammell Laird Shiprepairs and Shipbuilders in Birkenhead and eight years as a standards controller at the Marconi torpedo factory in Neston. He retired aged 55 after he developed a nervous condition.

“Having a physical disability will not stop me,” said Mr Davies. “My father, David, was born in Rhyl so the name Red Dragon Shipbuilding was inspired by the Welsh flag.

“I would be involved at first in setting the project up and then I would take a step back and let other people run it.”

Mr Davies has submitted his business plan to North Wales AM Mark Isherwood and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

He added: “I’m hoping that they will support my idea and then I can get government funding, sponsorship and shareholders to set up the project.”

See full story in the Leader

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