Area prepared for major investment

MASSIVE investment in a range of projects to create thousands of jobs, improve transport links, tourism, the environment and quality of life in part of Suffolk will be unveiled today .

MASSIVE investment in a range of projects to create thousands of jobs, improve transport links, tourism, the environment and quality of life in part of Suffolk will be unveiled today .

The £600 million development plan aims to draw together the priorities for the Haven Gateway area - which includes Ipswich and Felixstowe - for the next 15 years and create 50,000 jobs.

The area has already been identified as one of the region's “engines of growth” and now the team behind the project wants to attract government and private sector money to build the facilities which are desperately needed to boost the economy.

The Haven Gateway Partnership's (HGP) Integrated Development Programme (IDP) details the strengths, challenges, risks and opportunities in the area to 2021 and beyond.

David Ralph, chief executive for the partnership, said it was the first time the area's priorities had been brought together.

“Some of the pipedreams and wish-lists have now been dropped - not forgotten but just not part of what we think can be delivered and achieved in the next few years - and we have put together those projects on which we will focus and which are sustainable.

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“These are the schemes we will put our energy, money and resources into in the next few years.”

The partnership knits together councils and private companies, the University Campus Suffolk, small businesses and the Suffolk chamber, and co-ordinates the drive to carry out the projects.

Mr Ralph said the development plan could cost £600m, but did not include schemes such as the £1 billion needed to improve the A12 or £500m for the A120 dualling. The majority of the money is expected to come from the private sector, one-third from government and some from Europe.

To date, it has secured £17.5m and received outline approval for some £20m of Community Infrastructure Funding.

“It is imperative that we deliver the growth while maintaining a high-quality environment for residents, workers and visitors,” said Mr Ralph.

“We strongly believe that the IDP will help the Haven Gateway to manage its way out of recession, as our commitment towards the projects outlined is 'above and beyond' the impact of the credit crunch.

“The HGP is convinced these packages are the right ones in terms of managing, and prioritising, the investments required to deliver substantial growth - sustainably and well.”

FASTFACTS: Planning for the future

IP-One - incorporating Ipswich flood defences, phase two of University Campus, town centre and Ipswich Village improvements.

Ipswich East - infrastructure improvements for the eastern fringe of Ipswich, new transport link schemes, improvement of electricity supply and the establishment of a Knowledge Hub and E-Skills Academy.

Regeneration of Felixstowe - a masterplan to improve its landscape and extend Trimley Marshes, sport and leisure and transport studies, new coastal defences, redevelopment along the seafront, and creation of civic space in the town centre.

New tourist attractions, new hotels, improvements to key venues, and to ensure a lasting Olympic 2012 legacy.

New homes - 65,000 in the area by 2021 with 35 per cent of them affordable.

Further investment in higher education and projects to ensure there is an appropriately skilled workforce for 50,000 new jobs.

Improvements to the Felixstowe to Nuneaton railway line, projects to deal with the increase in traffic on the A12, upgrading the A120, and backing a “dryport” project to improve cargo distribution.

WHAT THEY SAY:

“The IDP is a highly commendable single statement of intention from the partnership as to what it deems as necessary to deliver in order meet the expectations and aspirations of those who want to live, visit and work in this region”.

Stephen Bracewell, chief executive, Harwich Haven Authority

“We very much welcome this programme as it will help bring jobs and investment to the whole sub-region. We do not live in isolation anymore and this move is yet another step in our bid to bring integration and development for ourselves and our neighbours.”

Richard Atkins, planning and economic development portfolio holder, Ipswich Borough Council

“By working in partnership we are able to attract the necessary public investment that will underpin our efforts to create and safeguard jobs in our district. The Haven Gateway's IDP sets out priorities for the future that will help us achieve those goals and build on the world-class strengths that our district has.”

Colin Hart, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member

“The sub-region is home to the UK's most important port cluster, and the delivery of world-class infrastructure is central to the Haven Gateway achieving its strategic ambitions, and playing a key role in growing the wider regional and national economies.”

Paul Davey, Head of Corporate Affairs, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited

“The business community welcomes the IDP, as not only does it utilise the strengths of both the public and private sectors for the good of the Haven Gateway, but it also focuses key stakeholders' attention on the issues that will make a real difference to the Haven Gateway in terms of skills development, generating employment opportunities, and creating sustainable economic development for the future”.

John Dugmore, chief executive, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

“BT welcomes the publication of the IDP and its recognition of the importance of taking a holistic view of the economic and social needs and opportunities for Haven Gateway. We look forward to contributing to the plan's development and execution.”

Phil Dance, managing director Technology Development, BT

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