New business park set for Suffolk

A massive 280-acre business park - as big as the village of Trimley St Mary - could be built on the Felixstowe peninsula to help keep the port as a world-class container terminal.

FELIXSTOWE: A massive 280-acre business park - as big as the village of Trimley St Mary - could be built on the Felixstowe peninsula to help keep the port as a world-class container terminal.

But battlelines are set to be drawn between those who see the development as bringing a jobs boost for the area and those who see it as a threat to the rural countryside between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

Experts say the Port of Felixstowe will need extra land to help it grow and keep its rivals at bay, and the project could create many new jobs.

Immediate concerns will focus on the size of the development at Innocence Farm alongside the A14, but landowner Trinity College, Cambridge, insists it will not be a “blot on the landscape” and be hidden by a 70-metre deep earthbank, planting and trees.

Earlier this year, Liberal Democrats suggested the site could become a 4,000-home new village to cope with Felixstowe's future housing needs but the site was said to be too far away from facilities families would need.

The college's plan involves:

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280-acres of land for a business park between the A14, Kirton Road, and Croft Lane;

a new freight railhead to connect with the Ipswich-Felixstowe line near Morston Hall;

a 44-acre development, probably for container storage, at Christmasyards Wood in Trimley St Mary.

Last year a report examining land needed to cope with the growth of the port said more than 800 acres of potential land had been identified as suitable for port operations and 286 acres would be needed by 2023 if the port grows as expected.

The land is needed for storage sites for cargo, places for modern distribution centres, and offices and yards for port-related business.

Tim Collins, a partner in Bidwells, agents for Trinity College, said the projects were currently before district, sub-regional and regional bodies and it was hoped they would be included in the new planning policy for the area.

“Felixstowe port is a significant player on the European and world stage and from Felixstowe's, the port's and Trinity College's perspective, if we want that to continue we have to be planning in terms of supply and availability strategic employment land to take the port forward now and beyond 2025,” he said.

“It will be critical to keep a first-class port functioning and for Felixstowe to have a vibrant economy.”

FASTFACTS: Trinity College, Cambridge

Trinity College, one of the oldest Cambridge university colleges, is an educational charity with landholdings of 13,000 acres around the country;

Last year it had an income of �39 million including around �5 million from urban leases, mostly from land at Felixstowe port and surrounding industrial estates;

It owns 3,400 acres on the Felixstowe peninsula, part of the Orwell Park Estate owned by the Prettyman family and sold in 1933 to meet death duty liabilities

The land includes four farms, 17 residential tenancies, about 525 acres of commercial estate and dock, a 200 acre nature reserve and 120 acres of woodland;

Main benefits brought to the area are the college's release of land for the port and industry boosting the economy and bringing thousands of jobs;

It has also enhanced the landscape with the planting of a quarter of a million trees and shrubs and improved the public footpath network.