Port approval delayed because of appeal

PROPOSALS to expand Felixstowe port would most likely have been approved – if the container terminal's owners had not appealed because the project had not been decided on fast enough.

PROPOSALS to expand Felixstowe port would most likely have been approved - if the container terminal's owners had not appealed because the project had not been decided on fast enough.

But the owners of the port are convinced that their redevelopment plan - which will more than double the amount of traffic on the A14 around the town - would have still gone to a public inquiry, as have all other major port projects.

Suffolk Coastal officers say because of the appeal against them not making a decision fast enough, councillors cannot now make a decision and an inquiry will decide.

However, they can say what their decision would have been - and officers are recommending approval subject to a list of matters to be resolved.

These include improvements to the A14 dock spur and Copdock roundabout to cater for one million more lorry journeys which the port development will generate by 2021.

While environmental and wildlife groups have no major concerns over the project, monitoring schemes would be set up to keep an eye on its effects.

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There would also need to be landscaping, acoustic barriers to cut noise, movement of cranes when not in use to protect Landguard Fort, and controls over how high containers are stacked.

The district development control committee will meet on April 1 to discuss the development and receive a 38-page report.

The port wants to redevelop its Landguard area and Dock Basin to create a new 1,350 metre quay, with 13 high-rise quayside cranes, a 700 metre rail terminal, new dock tower other buildings.

Along with current expansion taking place at Trinity Terminal, it will double the capacity of the port to 5.6 million standard-sized boxes a year.

Most bodies consulted have not objected, but many have expressed the need for a flyover at the dock spur roundabout.

It is expected the port scheme, which will increase traffic on the dock spur road from 21,373 vehicles per day to 46,121 per day by 2023, will lead to improvements at the roundabout.

These will include separating port-bound traffic from that heading to the town, changing the radius of the roundabout, improved visibility, and increasing entry lanes to three.

In his report, director of development and community services Jeremy Schofield said the development was in line with national policy and the socio-economic benefits should be welcomed.

Major constraints on the rail network will need to be overcome, and Landguard Fort will suffer unless the package of community benefits proceeds. A series of meetings have been set up with the port to discuss these.

"The proposed development will have landscape and visual impacts over a wide area. These are unavoidable for a development of this scale. Further work on the mitigation of these impacts needs to be undertaken but it must be accepted that there will be some residual impact which cannot be overcome," he said.

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