Port expansion fears
MEASURES must be put in place to deal with the massive impact Felixstowe port's proposed huge southern redevelopment will have on the resort.That was the view today of town councillors who fear the scheme will add one million extra lorry journeys a year to the A14, cause TV interference, harm the setting of Landguard Fort, and lead to more traffic noise and skyglow.
MEASURES must be put in place to deal with the massive impact Felixstowe port's proposed huge southern redevelopment will have on the resort.
That was the view today of town councillors who fear the scheme will add one million extra lorry journeys a year to the A14, cause TV interference, harm the setting of Landguard Fort, and lead to more traffic noise and skyglow.
In addition, it is feared the enormous new cranes which will be used on the redeveloped Landguard terminal will loom large over the town – allowing the port to be seen from everywhere.
Councillors welcomed the project – though not warmly as they said it would affect so many residents – because of the economic security it would bring to the town and the region.
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But they said it was essential the impact was mitigated as much as possible and disagreed with the port's consultants who had felt it would have virtually no impact on the resort and its residents at all.
They also called for assurances that the compensation package for the community – including an improved port viewing area, visitor centre and berth for the cross-harbour foot ferry – would definitely be provided and port-funded.
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The scheme to redevelop the southern part of the port will increase its capacity by 1.5 million standard-sized boxes a year.
The dock basin will be filled in, the flour mill demolished, and more than 1,000 metres of extra quay built. Its first phase is expected to be open by 2006.
Andy Smith, chairman of the plans committee, said the consultants had "skated lightly and inadequately" over much of the impact and the council would need to make some strong remarks in its comments to Suffolk Coastal council.
One of the biggest impacts would be that of the new ship-to-shore cranes – at least twice as tall as the current ones on Landguard.
"These cranes will have a far much greater impact on the town as a whole and massively across the bay. There is nothing we can do about it as the whole point is to serve the bigger ships," said Mr Smith.
"But we need to do all we can to ameliorate the impact with colour and camouflage techniques."
Urgent attention would be needed to the dock spur roundabout to deal with what in 20 years will be a 40pc increase in the number of lorries on the A14, and it was agreed to press again for changes to make it safer and separate port and town traffic to prevent lorries flipping over onto cars.
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TOWN COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS IMPACT
Visual: Major landscaping will be needed to hide the port – especially the new bigger cranes – which cannot be seen from large areas of the town at present but which will be clearly visible once the development takes place.
Light intrusion: Councillors feel there should be no lights on cranes and lights should be minimised and carefully positioned to avoid skyglow.
TV interference: Much of Felixstowe suffers from appalling TV reception and all possible should be done to ensure the new development doesn't make it worse and if possible improves signals to help residents.
Traffic: Councillors fear the extra traffic will have a significant impact, the dock spur needs safety work, and French-standard road surfacing is needed to cut noise for those living close by the A14.
Rail: The council is calling for the Felixstowe-Nuneaton rail link improvements to be put back into the Strategic Rail Authority's national work programme to help increase the amount of cargo which can go by rail.
Landguard Fort: Landscaping and lower container stacking needed to protect the setting of the monument.
Flooding: All possible measures must be taken to ensure the town cannot be flooded from the port area as it was in the 1953 surge, and investigations should take place to see if dredged material can be used to replenish beaches.