Bathside Bay - fisherman's fears

FISHERMEN in Harwich could be put out of business by the development of a multi-million pound container port, it has been claimed. The ongoing public inquiry into the controversial proposals for Bathside Bay yesterdayheard developers Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK) would create a small boat harbour in Gas House Creek.

FISHERMEN in Harwich could be put out of business by the development of a multi-million pound container port, it has been claimed.

The ongoing public inquiry into the controversial proposals for Bathside Bay yesterdayheard developers Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK) would create a small boat harbour in Gas House Creek.

If given the go-ahead the container port would displace recreational moorings in the River Stour, so HPUK has designed the small boat harbour to mitigate the visual impact of the main plan and to provide the "protected" haven for small craft.

Moorings in the central area of the harbour would be able to accommodate 68 vessels of various sizes, with eight of those for visiting yachts.


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During cross examination of the evidence presented by Nicholas Ian Orbell for HPUK, John Noble of the Harwich Fisherman's Association, said they feared rates for moorings - currently free of charge - could finish them.

He said: "Harwich fishermen believe this would be the nail in the coffin for our industry. I suspect if you charge us a penny for the first year, you can modify it after that which is not an uncommon practice.

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"Of course it may not matter to a very large company like your own, do you not think it matters to the fishermen?"

Mr Orbell said provisions had been made for the fishermen and HPUK has stated the small boat harbour's moorings would give fishing vessels facilities for unloading, refuelling and storage of equipment.

Jenni Meredith of the Residents Against Port Expansion said views from Harwich town centre would be blocked by the main container development.

In the opening statement to the inquiry on Tuesday Timothy Straker, QC,on behalf of HPUK, said the extra container port capacity was needed in the UK to meet future economic demand.

"Every proposed port development must be justified on its own merits and the promoters take the view that this proposal has substantial merit and can be justified on its own merits," he said.

If the scheme goes ahead, the expansion would mean a further 1,400 metres of quay, 11 ship-to-shore gantry cranes and capacity to deal with the largest container ships.

The inquiry will not sit todayand will reconvene next Tuesday.

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