Home prices 'falling' due to port plans

A PROPOSED major port development has already led to falling house prices, it was claimed yesterday. Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited wants to expand Harwich International Port and create an adjoining terminal which would make the Bathside Bay location the second biggest deep water container dock in the UK.

A PROPOSED major port development has already led to falling house prices, it was claimed yesterday.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited wants to expand Harwich International Port and create an adjoining terminal which would make the Bathside Bay location the second biggest deep water container dock in the UK.

An ongoing public inquiry heard yesterday from Starboard - a group made up of Shotley residents concerned about the possible impacts.

The Shotley Peninsula lies at the mouths of the River Orwell and Stour, 500 metres from Felixstowe Port and 1,000 metres from Bathside Bay.


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Starboard's representative, Cathy Shelbourne, said they were "totally opposed" to the idea.

She said: "There are absolutely no benefits to the Shotley Peninsula from the development of yet another port on the far side of the river."

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She claimed Hutchison had a "poor track record" on safety and said the individual port companies were only motivated by competition with each other.

"The beautiful views will be ruined by yet another series of cranes," she added.

Ms Shelbourne gave examples of houses on the Shotley Peninsula where owners were forced to drop prices by as much as £10,000 for a sale or had been unable to sell at a time when the housing market is strong.

Mary Edwards, the regional campaigns co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth, said the environmental group was opposed to the development.

She said the quality of people's lives in the surrounding community would be hit, tourism would be reduced, the fishing industry could suffer and added the capacity at Felixstowe was not being used to its full potential.

She called for barrage balloons to be floated up to the height of the proposed cranes at Bathside Bay so all residents could get a better idea of the actual size they would be faced with.

The plans, which were first revealed in October 2000, have divided Harwich, with opponents and supporters of the scheme at loggerheads.

If the development 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 sit again next Wednesday.

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