Port expansion may need public inquiry
MULTI-million pound proposals to expand Felixstowe port may have to be decided by a public inquiry.It will only take one objector who refuses to back down – as it did when Shotley man Bob Sayers protested about the current expansion work taking place at the port's Trinity Terminal – for an inquiry to be called.
MULTI-million pound proposals to expand Felixstowe port may have to be decided by a public inquiry.
It will only take one objector who refuses to back down – as it did when Shotley man Bob Sayers protested about the current expansion work taking place at the port's Trinity Terminal – for an inquiry to be called.
But port chiefs believe a public inquiry is almost inevitable at a time when all the other major planned port developments, Bathside Bay, London Gateway and Southampton, are all heading for lengthy inquiries.
Hutchison Whampoa is having to apply for planning permission – an application has now been made, as reported in The Evening Star earlier this week – and a harbour revision order.
Suffolk Coastal will decide if the part of the redevelopment of Felixstowe's southern terminals which is on dry land can go ahead, while the government will look at the wet area, the land to be reclaimed from the harbour.
Many major concerns will have to be overcome before permission is given – most importantly the impact development will have on the community in the years ahead.
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On the plus side, the port claims it will create nearly 1,500 new jobs, but the downside is that it will mean more lorries thundering along the A14 and more traffic noise and fumes for those living alongside the road.
Data handed to Suffolk Coastal shows that by 2023 consultants expect an extra 802,384 lorry movements a year, and that is based on quays operating at two-thirds capacity.
This is in addition to the 260,000 extra trucks that the current expansion work at Trinity Terminal will add to the A14 on the Felixstowe peninsula.
Richard Pearson, managing director of Hutchison Ports (UK), said the redevelopment was an opportunity to provide the additional deep-water container capacity the UK will need in coming years.
"The UK government will be faced with a number of key decisions on port development in the near future," he said.
"It is vital for the future of the UK economy that the right facilities are built, supported by the right infrastructure connections, in the right place.
"We firmly believe this can best be achieved by considering the various alternative proposals put forward in the south-east quadrant of the UK at the same time. This will ensure the best strategic outcome for UK plc."
The new project will create 1,350 metres of deepwater quay, equipped with 13 ship-to-shore gantry cranes, a new rail terminal and backup storage land.
It also includes a larger public viewing area, additional car parking, bus stop and turning circle at Landguard Fort, and councillors have been told this will include a heritage centre and berth for the Felixstowe-Harwich foot ferry.
n What do you think of the port's plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk