Massive port development but at a cost?
MULTI-million pound proposals to create a huge new container terminal opposite Felixstowe port took a big step forward today as plans were unveiled.Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited – owners of both Felixstowe and Harwich International Port – submitted applications for the development of Bathside Bay, which will create 772 new jobs, plus many more in associated industries.
MULTI-million pound proposals to create a huge new container terminal opposite Felixstowe port took a big step forward today as plans were unveiled.
Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited – owners of both Felixstowe and Harwich International Port – submitted applications for the development of Bathside Bay, which will create 772 new jobs, plus many more in associated industries.
Three applications were deposited with Tendring District Council for the landside facilities for the new terminal, while a 1988 Act of Parliament has already established that a new port can be built.
But the moves have worried people across the estuary on the Shotley peninsular, due to the potential impact the development will have on them.
Fears have been raised about the effect such a large-scale project will have on the environment, as well as the extra noise and light it will bring.
Wendy Sadler, a district councillor for the Shotley Ward over the last seven years, is in a better position to comment than most – the garden of her Erwarton home backs on to the estuary.
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She said: "It's certainly going to be noisy and that is my main concern.
"I think the noise will need to be monitored and people on this side of the water must be thought about.
"To be honest, a lot of people don't know which way to make their mind up about it. I'm not for the development but I think it will happen – it's one of those things that you really don't know what it will be like until it is built."
Fisherman John Moss, who lives in Ipswich, said he was worried about the environmental implications of the scheme.
"Quite a lot of people go out fishing on the estuary and it will definitely affect all of that," he added. "When you have the big ships coming through it's a real problem.
"I should imagine that it might well spoil the environment around here."
However Mick Giddings, landlord of The Rose Pub in Shotley and a long-time villager, said he welcomed the massive development.
"I'm all for it," he added. "It's an area that needs to be developed and Harwich certainly needs a big economic boost.
"I don't understand people who say they are worried about the noise and things like that – you know if you move near a dockside you are going to get noise of some sort."
A select group councillors and representatives of local organisations were invited to an exhibition of the plans, and public exhibitions of the development proposals will be held soon at Shotley and Harwich.
Richard Pearson, managing director of Hutchison Ports UK, said: "We are fully committed to the development of new deep-water container capacity, both at Bathside Bay and the nearby Port of Felixstowe.
"It is vital that, in order to remain competitive with European ports, the UK creates additional new deep-water facilities to service the latest generation of large container vessels afloat today.
"Together with the extension of Trinity Terminal and the redevelopment of the southern part of the Port of Felixstowe, the plans for Bathside Bay will bring the total container capacity within the Harwich Haven to some 6.9 million standard-sized boxes, which is excellent news for both the local and national economy."
The Bathside Bay plans detail the port's operational area, construction of a small boat harbour and public amenity area at Gas House Creek, and seek listed building consent for the partial removal of the jetty attached to the Train Ferry Berth in Gas House Creek.
The operational area will include a 1,400-metre quay, container handling and stacking area and associated facilities.
It will make Harwich International Port the second largest container port in the UK – Felixstowe is the biggest – doubling the total quay length to 3,000 metres, and enabling it to handle up to four deep-sea container vessels simultaneously.
The new 250-acre terminal will handle around 1.7 million containers a year.
n What do you think – is port expansion good news, or will it mean more noise, light pollution and harm a high-quality environmental area? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk