Millions will be spent on Port community

MORE than £2 million will be spent on community benefits by owners of Britain's biggest port if it gets the go-ahead for a massive expansion project.But the port will also have to shell out many millions more on improvements to roads and dualling the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

MORE than £2 million will be spent on community benefits by owners of Britain's biggest port if it gets the go-ahead for a massive expansion project.

But the port will also have to shell out many millions more on improvements to roads and dualling the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

Full details of the cost to Hutchison Ports is outlined in the legal agreements which will come into force if the government approves the £240m scheme to double the container terminal's capacity.

The main benefits for the community will be:

n £750,000 for a new visitor centre at a new port viewing area plus coach and car parking;

n £200,000 towards half the cost of a new landing berth for the Felixstowe-Shotley-Harwich ferry;

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n £430,000 contribution towards the management of the Landguard peninsula to protect and improve the environment;

n £65,000 for a new footpath and cycleway from Manor End car park to the new viewing area and Landguard Fort;

n £70,000 for lighting and resurfacing of Peewit Hill;

n £17,000-plus for acoustic barriers and planting to protect residents of Adastral Close from port noise;

n £400,000 for acoustic barriers alongside the A14 at Trimley;

n £32,000 for monitoring of pollution levels in the area;

n and £15,000 for new footpaths and cycleways leading to and from the port.

The port will also pay for the dualling of the five miles of the branch line between Felixstowe and Ipswich to increase rail freight – though the cost of this is not known at this stage.

In addition, it will also carry out safety improvements at the dock spur roundabout, most likely to include traffic lights and extra lanes.

Councillor Andy Smith, chairman of Felixstowe Town Council's plans committee, said the agreements contained some very good news for the town.

He said: "This will bring some excellent benefits for the area and is very welcome indeed.

"Many of the items mentioned are issues which were put forward by the town council and have now been recognised in these documents.

"As well as the centrepiece of the new viewing area and visitor centre at Landguard, we will see major work such as the rail line dualling and dock spur roundabout, but also measures to safeguard against TV reception problems and pollution."

Public inquiry inspector Michael Ellison's report on the proposed port expansion will be with Transport Secretary Alistair Darling by March 21, but it is likely to still be some months before a decision is made.

The new terminal is expected to create nearly 1,500 new jobs – 621 port jobs and 860 in dock-related employment – within ten years of opening.

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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