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Collision looms over roads through dock

PUBLISHED: 22:16 18 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

TWO of the most important bodies in Ipswich are today on collision course over the future of the road network around the town's port.

Ipswich council has told Associated British Ports, which runs the town's docks, that it would be prepared to seek compulsory purchase orders to build a road through the West Bank Terminal.

TWO of the most important bodies in Ipswich are today on collision course over the future of the road network around the town's port.

Ipswich council has told Associated British Ports, which runs the town's docks, that it would be prepared to seek compulsory purchase orders to build a road through the West Bank Terminal.

However, ABP has warned that would be difficult because the Ipswich Port Authority, which it includes in its constitution, is a statutory body.

Port boss Robert Smith said: "We're not saying it would be impossible to get a compulsory purchase order – but we would certainly fight it and it wouldn't be straightforward for the council.

"It isn't just that a road through the West Bank Terminal would endanger our future growth, it would also jeopardise our current operations – and it wouldn't solve the problem of access to the East Bank."

From the port's point of view, an east bank route made a lot more sense – but the council's new local plan says this should only be regarded as a last resort if a west bank route and bridge across the wet dock lock fails to solve the town's congestion problems.

The port has already warned that a bridge across the lock would be impractical because it would have to be open for 30 minutes at a time whenever a boat went into or out of the Wet Dock.

That would mean it was out of action for 20 per cent of the time and each movement would cause major problems for the town centre.

Ipswich council's planning and economic development spokesman, Philip Smart, said the question about roads around the docks would be dealt with during public debate about the Local Plan.

Residents have until January 18 to make representations about the Local Plan – then there will be a great debate on the proposals and a public inquiry.

Mr Smart said: "At the moment we are not ruling anything in or out on this."

He said he was hoping to have a meeting with port bosses early in the new year.


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