Explosives cut if office block is built

LESS cargoes of explosives may be imported and exported at the Port of Felixstowe in future if a new office block for 250 workers is built.Experts say while the chances of a major incident are low, they are very worried for the safety of the employees – and may have to limit the port's dealings with the dangerous loads to protect them from serious danger.

LESS cargoes of explosives may be imported and exported at the Port of Felixstowe in future if a new office block for 250 workers is built.

Experts say while the chances of a major incident are low, they are very worried for the safety of the employees – and may have to limit the port's dealings with the dangerous loads to protect them from serious danger.

China Shipping (UK) Agency Co Ltd and Johnson Stevens Agencies Ltd have drawn up plans to share a new headquarters building on a 1.7 acre site in Walton Avenue, just outside the port complex.

The stunning new maritime-themed building has three floors and will provide 3,458 sq metres of accommodation.


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But the Health and Safety Executive said the site falls within the area governed by the rules covering the nearby explosives handling facility at the Port of Felixstowe and has asked its Explosives Inspectorate to investigate.

A report to councillors said: "The Explosives Inspectorate concludes that while the probability of a major accident involving explosives is low, the consequences to people at the proposed development could be serious.

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"It further advises that if planning permission is granted, the Explosives Inspectorate would review the explosives facilities licence.

"This may result in the explosives capacity being significantly reduced, possibly putting its commercial viability in jeopardy."

Planning officers at Suffolk Coastal say the issue is being investigated and more details will be given to the south area development control sub committee when it meets on March 3.

The applicants, Felixstowe Dock and Railway Co, and the Explosives Inspectorate have been asked for further views.

Details of the amount of explosives handled at the port are kept secret and it is not known what effect cutting back the business could have on jobs.

If the concerns can be overcome, planners are happy to recommend the go-ahead for the office block.

The plans for the L-shaped building have won plaudits from all who have seen them.

A statement in a planners report said: "The design of the proposed buildings is very contemporary, and will result in an attractive focal point at this prominent location on Walton Avenue.

"The immediate area is characterised by rather utilitarian industrial and storage buildings, and the proposed development could act as a catalyst for further environmental enhancement."

Felixstowe Town Council also recommends approval and "greatly welcomes this prestigious design".

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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