Gateway bids for investment

THE Haven Gateway Partnership is seeking to ensure that the area cashes in on the Government's plans to boost public spending in response to the looming recession.

THE Haven Gateway Partnership is seeking to ensure that the area cashes in on the Government's plans to boost public spending in response to the looming recession.

The partnership - a joint public-private sector initiative to promote economic development in and around the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, including Ipswich and Colchester - is today launching an Integrated Development Programme (IDP) setting out where funding could be directed most effectively.

The document is based on a detailed account of the strengths, challenges, risks and opportunities within the Haven Gateway area - which stretches from Snape to West Mersea - up to the year 2021 and beyond.

And it identifies the infrastructure, development and skills investment required to achieve targeted levels of economic growth, including both immediate priorities and longer-term schemes.

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“The IDP process has been an ambitious one, in concept, scope and timescale,” said David Ralph, chief executive of the Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP).

“For instance, it has, for the first time, brought together the disciplines and timescales linked to new approaches to spatial planning and those associated with key funding cycles.

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“At the start of a recession, this document identifies projects which stand out as opportunities under the Government's spending plans and it also shows that we have got our act together in this area in terms of joined up working.”

Mr Ralph said projects on which he hoped to see progress included moves to upgrade the direct Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail link, to divert freight traffic from the busy London mainline, and to increase capacity on the A12 and A14 trunk routes, although this did not necessarily mean road widening.

“It is imperative that we deliver the growth while maintaining a high-quality environment for residents, workers and visitors,” added. “We strongly believe that the IDP will help the Haven Gateway to manage its way out of recession, as our commitment towards the projects outlined is 'above and beyond' the impact of the credit crunch.”

Key investment “packages” identified in the document include:

n IP-One incorporating Ipswich flood defences, Phase II of University Campus, town centre and Ipswich Village improvements.

n Ipswich East including infrastructure improvements for the eastern fringe of Ipswich, new transport link schemes, improvement of electricity supply and the establishment of a “Knowledge Hub” and E-Skills Academy.

n North Colchester incorporating a proposed new junction on the A12, a new park and ride project based at the Weston Homes Stadium, securing 25% level of social housing and a business incubator unit.

n East Colchester including the University of Essex Research Park and Business Innovation Centre, relocation of the former travellers' site to enable redevelopment of the waterfront, renovating and rebuilding King Edward Quay, environmental improvements to Hythe railway station, East Colchester Rapid Transit Link Study and the creation of new public open spaces.

n Colchester Town Centre of which the key elements are the redevelopment of St Botolph's Cultural Quarter, the development of Vineyard Gate, town centre transport and public realm improvements, remediation and redevelopment of Britannia Works

n Coastal Town Regeneration highlighting the key priorities for investment in Felistowe, Harwich, Clacton, Walton and Jaywick

Tourism, culture, the creative industries, housing and skills are also covered in the programme as well as sustainability objectives relating to water use, renewable energy, bio-diversity and employment land

“The Haven Gateway Partnership is convinced that these packages are the right ones in terms of managing, and prioritising, the investments required to deliver substantial growth - sustainably and well,” added Mr Ralph.

“The publication of the IDP brings what we see as the priorities into the public domain, enabling us to stimulate debate and gain buy-in from the stakeholders within the community.”

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