A move which would pave the way for the purchase of Appledore Shipyard is ‘imminent’, according to a union.

Unite understands there are now three consortiums actively seeking to purchase the mothballed Appledore shipyard in North Devon.

The union said it understands a final announcement on which consortium will be given the green light to buy the shipyard is imminent and it is hoped that shipbuilding at the historic site will return this year.

Unite regional secretary for the South West Steve Preddy said: “The latest developments are good news for a strong community and skilled workforce that never gave up the fight for their shipyard.

“With the right support and vision Appledore can and will have a secure long-term future, protecting hundreds of skilled workers while offering proper apprenticeships to coming generations.

“We look forward to working with whichever consortium is ultimately successful to complete the deal and get this yard and community back on its feet.”