Big name leaves town waterfront

A LAND-SWAP deal between ABP and the borough council has forced a long-established company from its base on the historic waterfront of Ipswich.Ship repairers and engineers, F T Marine & General had been operating from Orwell Quay for almost 14 years.

A LAND-SWAP deal between ABP and the borough council has forced a long-established company from its base on the historic waterfront of Ipswich.

Ship repairers and engineers, F T Marine & General had been operating from Orwell Quay for almost 14 years.

When they were notified that their site was scheduled for redevelopment by the borough council a search for new waterside premises was launched. It failed so today the company has moved to Manningtree.

Manager Bill Fairbrother said that although he has been impressed by the redevelopment of the waterfront, it was not good news for everyone.

"We were founded on this site in 1989 and now employ 15 people including one apprentice. Although we go out to many of our jobs and on that basis it doesn't really matter where our centre is, it has caused a lot of inconvenience by having to move and will continue to be difficult," he said.

Customers of F T Marine include ferries, ships and tugs at all the Haven Ports plus others including Ipswich Port itself and the river cruiser Orwell Lady.

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"It is not just the awkwardness of being located away from Ipswich but myself and our staff will not be popping in to the town and buying bits and pieces. If the site is redeveloped for housing that is not necessarily going to mean people spending in the town," he added.

F T Marine & General has now moved from the Wet Dock to Lawford Industrial Estate at Manningtree and Mr Fairbrother gave assurances to customers it would be business as usual.

He said that although his company had not been given notice to quit their site, he had been told that once it had been acquired by Ipswich Borough Council it would be redeveloped.

Rob Smith, manager at ABP said he wished F T Marine well in their new premises and he was sorry that they had not been able to find alternative accommodation along the waterfront.

"We had arranged a deal with the borough council whereby in return for the port being allowed to develop land owned by the authority we would hand over Orwell Quay sites to them in a land swap.

"The council quite obviously wants vacant possession and F T Marine with our help, has tried to find alternative accommodation along the waterfront but nothing has been suitable for their needs.

"We are sorry to lose this company from our community and we wish them well," he added.

A council spokesman, said: "

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