Battle against port plans 'will go on'

AN ENVIRONMENTAL pressure group has vowed to continue its fight against a new deep-sea container terminal despite a town poll backing the development.Some 68% of voters in Harwich supported the Bathside Bay project in a parish poll organised by Harwich Town Council, at the request of campaigners against the development.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL pressure group has vowed to continue its fight against a new deep-sea container terminal despite a town poll backing the development.

Some 68% of voters in Harwich supported the Bathside Bay project in a parish poll organised by Harwich Town Council, at the request of campaigners against the development.

The vote was designed to gauge the level of support for the plans, set out by Hutchison's Ports (UK) Ltd, amid concerns that its creation will alter the face of the area permanently.

With a 24.6% turnout, Thursday's poll saw 2,230 people voting for expansion and 1,057 voting against it.


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Friends of the Earth, which believes the development will increase levels of pollution, destroy designated wildlife sites, and fail to guarantee jobs for local people, was upbeat despite the results.

Mary Edwards, campaigns co-ordinator for the East of England FOE, said: “Hutchison and Haven Gateway believed they had 80% support for the development. We have shown that is not the case.

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“Our aim is to continue chipping at that support and we will be holding a meeting next Monday in Parkeston to demand more parish polls so that the voice of local people can be heard.”

The poll, which cost the taxpayer about £5,000 to take place, holds no constitutional value but will be sent to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for evaluation.

Those in favour of the Bathside Bay expansion believe levels of employment will increase dramatically.

Chairman of the Harwich Traders' Association, Alan Robson said: “I am very pleased by the results of course, this is what Harwich needs. My problem however is that this has come about at the expense of taxpayers' money. It is sad that it has come to this.”

Ivan Henderson, MP for Harwich said: “The objectors to the development have repeatedly claimed that the people of Harwich have not had a chance to voice their opinion. Harwich voters have now spoken and their decision should be respected.”

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