Hotel scheme hit by safety fears

SERIOUS fears today over how people would be evacuated if there was a major accident at a Felixstowe gas plant are set to scupper hopes of building a new hotel.

SERIOUS fears today over how people would be evacuated if there was a major accident at a Felixstowe gas plant are set to scupper hopes of building a new hotel.

Planners feel the site for the development is excellent, but cannot recommend approval because of an objection from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Equity Land (Ipswich) Ltd want to build the 40-bed hotel – which would be the first new hotel in the seaside town for 30 years – on the 13-acre Haven Exchange site opposite Dock Gate one at end of the A14.

The scheme already has "very serious interest" from a major national hotel group and would create 55 new jobs.


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Work has just started on part of the land to build two new office headquarters for large companies.

But while employees would be fully briefed on what to do in an emergency should anything happen at the Calor Gas plant at the port, the HSE is concerned that people staying at the hotel would not be so familiar with procedures.

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The HSE classes the plant – which is facing an uncertain future at present because it will be left without a gas pipeline from the oil jetty to its site when Landguard Terminal is redeveloped – as a "hazardous installation".

Felixstowe Town Council has recommended approval, and Suffolk Coastal has received just eight letters of objection from residents concerned about night-time activity, increased noise, and loss of a wildlife habitat.

In a report to the south area development control sub committee, planning officers said the site is a good location for a hotel, and would provide jobs.

However, they are recommending councillors refuse it because of the HSE.

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

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