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Objections mount over port proposal

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

OBJECT before it is too late was the message today as campaigners claimed people were firmly against a project to build "a monster port" opposite Felixstowe and Shotley.

OBJECT before it is too late was the message today as campaigners claimed people were firmly against a project to build "a monster port" opposite Felixstowe and Shotley.

Campaigners were delighted with the number who turned out for a public meeting into the plans for a multi-million pound container terminal at Bathside Bay at Harwich.

But they say people now need to get objections in writing to council chiefs before May 30.

Cathy Shelbourne of Shotley campaign group Starboard said around 200 people attended the meeting and were "firmly against" development.

"It was very heartening to see people care and have opinions on this very important issue," she said.

People at the meeting – held at Kingsway Hall, Dovercourt – questioned Hutchison Ports' claims that the project would create 772 new jobs.

"People very much doubted that the jobs would be that many or benefit local people – construction jobs often go to people who come into the area to do the work and then leave, and many ports, such as Rotterdam, are today highly automated and require few workers," she said.

Tim Mason, chairman of Starboard, added: "Shotley will be encircled by a ring of steel and concrete. If Bathside Bay is developed the existing noise from Harwich will be exacerbated many, many times.

"Our concerns are noise, light and airborne pollution – we suffer from all of this already. We have black deposits in our houses from ships."

Martina Weatherley of Spindrift a Harwich based anti-development group said: "I am opposed to the project because I think it will destroy the quality of life for residents. I think it will affect everybody. I don't think it's a long term viable or sustainable project.

"I think it will cripple Harwich. I think it could destroy tourism and the whole character of the town."

But Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager for Hutchison Ports, said the Bathside Bay terminal would not be automated and a full breakdown of the jobs to be created was in the documents submitted with the planning applications.

The company had a good record of local job creation and 12,000 Suffolk people earned their livelihoods either directly or indirectly from Felixstowe port.

The 250-acre Bathside scheme will make Harwich International Port the second largest container port in the UK – Felixstowe is the biggest – doubling its total quay length to 3,000 metres, and enabling it to handle four deep-sea container vessels simultaneously and around 1.7 million containers a year.

The government will have the final say over the development after a public inquiry later this year.


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