Red tape could stop depot move

IPSWICH Buses could be forced to rethink a proposed site for a new depot because of fears that a move to Hadleigh Road could be sunk by red tape.The council-owned bus company has been preparing to move into a new purpose-built depot off Hadleigh Road - the site of the former Harris bacon factory - since 2002.

By Paul Geater

IPSWICH Buses could be forced to rethink a proposed site for a new depot because of fears that a move to Hadleigh Road could be sunk by red tape.

The council-owned bus company has been preparing to move into a new purpose-built depot off Hadleigh Road - the site of the former Harris bacon factory - since 2002.

It is still hoping that its new depot could be built by 2009 although Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson admitted today that date was very optimistic.

He said; “We still have no idea when the first work can start there, and it seems as if the whole move could have to be abandoned.”

Two issues have proved very problematic - one is Network Rail's insistence that Hadleigh Road bridge parapets are strengthened before the site is developed.

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The second is a requirement that space is left for a new rail line linking the East Suffolk line with the main line allowing trains to travel from Felixstowe to the midlands and north without having to reverse at Ipswich.

It is believed rail experts have warned planners that the line would not be feasible because the curve would have to be too steep for long freight trains to use and because too much land would be needed and could make the whole redevelopment site unviable.

Network Rail has agreed to strengthen the bridges as soon as the development of the site gets under way.

Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson said the company was getting fed up with the long wait for a new depot.

He said: “We really do need to move - our Constantine Road depot is no longer up to the job for a modern bus company and if we cannot move into Hadleigh Road we will have to look for somewhere else.”

The Hadleigh Road site would be developed by Ipswich-based developer Equity Estates in association with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA)d the borough council.

Mr Robson said: “We shall be meeting EEDA representatives next week and I shall be telling them that unless things are sorted out we shall be looking for alternative sites.

“The earliest we can move is 2009 and frankly that is looking very optimistic.”

Alastair Thomas from Equity Estates said negotiations were continuing and he was hopeful that eventually agreement over all outstanding issues could be reached.

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