Jobs boost with enterprise plan

LAND which it is hoped could provide hundreds of jobs may be used for a new "enterprise village" to train people for careers in the shipping industry, it was revealed today.

LAND which it is hoped could provide hundreds of jobs may be used for a new "enterprise village" to train people for careers in the shipping industry, it was revealed today.

The multi-million pound project is said to be "a very outline concept" at present, but the Evening Star has learned that talks have been taking place about its possibility for nearly a year.

It would be built on part of the 170-acre Trinity 2000 business park and industrial site awaiting development at Clickett Hill, Trimley St Mary.

The aim would be to build up to 40,000 sq ft of business centre accommodation, which would include 40 to 55 offices, reception, conference and meeting rooms, café, business advice and training services.

Extra space would be earmarked so that the venture, called the Felixstowe Enterprise Village, could be extended in future.

Detailed feasibility studies, involving the landowners' agents, the Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP) and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) are now to take place to see how to take the project forward.

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Landowners Trinity College created the site – a series of massive plateaux on sloping land next to the A14 just outside Felixstowe port – three years ago.

But work to market it has bore little fruit, despite protracted negotiations with some major companies, and no development has yet taken place.

The idea for the learning and enterprise centre, to be built at the entrance to the site, arose because of concern at the urgent need to address training and recruitment problems in the internationally-important shipping and distribution centres clustered around the Ipswich-Felixstowe-Harwich.

HGP has already been putting into place initiatives to try to encourage more people to think about careers in shipping.

EEDA wants to increase in-work training and Felixstowe is currently "under-resourced" as far as adult learning facilities are concerned.

The resort is also largely dependent on its port, distribution and shipping-related businesses for its jobs and prosperity.

This sector if forecast to expand significantly, yet there is an identified shortage of business support facilities in Felixstowe, despite the need.

Experts say Felixstowe should also be looking to diversify its economy so it is not so reliant on the port and the new centre could help support new enterprises that started up.

Clickett Hill extends to 170 acres but only around 64 acres will actually be built on, with the rest used for earth embankments and landscaping to screen the development from view and deaden noise from it, and for dumping soil removed to make level plateaux for building.

It is hoped the project will eventually create hundreds of jobs, but planners have stressed it cannot be used simply for container storage parks.

They are insisting a large section of the land should be used for industrial units, workshops or laboratories, or offices, such as headquarters for major companies.

What do you think should be built on the site? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail