BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
PROPOSALS for a 190-metre “finger quay” extension to enable Britain’s premier port to handle two of the world’s biggest ships at the same time are set to cross another hurdle today.
Suffolk Coastal councillors are being asked to amend the planning consent for the continued development of the Port of Felixstowe so the extension can proceed without triggering mitigation and rail obligations.
The project effectively starts phase two of the development of the south of the port which means Hutchison Ports UK should build a new permanent visitor centre for Landguard, new viewing area and a berth for the Felixstowe-Harwich-Shotley foot ferry, and spend £40million-plus dualling part of the Ipswich line.
As the “finger quay” is only one third of the full length of the phase two quay, councillors are recommended to agree there is no need to alter the agreements at this stage and the mitigation work should wait until later.
In a report, head of planning services Philip Ridley said: “In respect of the Landguard mitigation works, the proposed quay extension would not result in the loss of the existing viewing area, so there is no need to provide a replacement viewing area.
“HPUK have already agreed to provide an interim visitor centre and this is due to be operational this year. This, together with other works that have taken place on the Landguard peninsula under Phase 1, results in improved visitor facilities in this area.
“It is also recognised that for the port to remain competitive it must be capable of servicing these new larger ships coming on to the market, and therefore meeting the operational demands of its customers, otherwise they will go elsewhere.”
A transport assessment showed the extra quay would not generate more traffic than agreed under previous permission for the port’s expansion and spare rail capacity would be available.
The 190m long finger quay will be added to the new £300m extension officially opened just 17 months ago by the Princess Royal. It will be 94m wide and take 11 months to build and is expected to be complete by 2015.
Another ten cranes would be provided to add to the seven existing on the new terminal and the extra quay will mean the development can handle 1.3m boxes a year.