A BID to revise plans for a £300million port development in Essex have been withdrawn after the Government announced it wanted to scrutinise them.

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Hutchison Ports wanted permission to start construction on the Bathside Bay container port scheme before carrying out associated improvements to the A120.

But last month the Government dealt that bid a major blow by announcing it wanted to make the modified plans the subject of a public inquiry.

Then, in a letter to Tendring District Council (TDC), Hutchison Ports said it was the withdrawing its bid to tweak the plans because of “anticipated costs and delay associated with a public inquiry”.

It means Hutchison Ports will not be able to complete works on Bathside Bay without improving the A120 between Hare Green and Harwich.

TDC says it will accompany representatives of Hutchison Ports on a trip to London for discussions with the Government about the scheme.

Neil Stock, leader of TDC, said: “They must have been absolutely gutted when they heard the Government had gone for a public inquiry and quite frankly I am not surprised they pulled the application. We constantly hear that planning should not stifle the country’s economic growth, but then the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government seems to go totally against that edict where Bathside Bay is concerned.”

Cllr Stock said that the development is vital to the economy of Tendring and its regeneration plans.

He added: “I sincerely hope that the delays do not mean that Hutchison Ports feel they would be better off investing elsewhere.”

Carlo Guglielmi, TDC’s cabinet member for planning, said: “By the time the inquiry was over and a decision announced we would be another three or four years down the line. I am optimistic that development will take place at Bathside Bay at some point – but just what and when that will be hangs in the balance.”

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