Investors sought for town's regeneration
INVESTORS and developers are being sought to turn into reality ambitious plans for the regeneration of an Essex town centre.A recently completed “masterplan” for Old Harwich sets out a number of opportunities, which are seen as key to the future economic prosperity of the area.
By Duncan Brodie
INVESTORS and developers are being sought to turn into reality ambitious plans for the regeneration of an Essex town centre.
A recently completed “masterplan” for Old Harwich sets out a number of opportunities, which are seen as key to the future economic prosperity of the area.
It envisages port activity eventually being relocated from the Navyard Wharf, allowing for the creation of a new marina, as well as a mixture of residential development and cafes, restaurants, shops and other commercial ventures in the neighbouring area.
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Although the relocation of port activity is not imminent, the recent move by Trinity House from an existing building on the quayside to a newly-built headquarters elsewhere in the town is seen as offering an opportunity for the regeneration process to begin sooner rather than later.
A Harwich Regeneration Group has been set up to drive forward the masterplan, headed by George Courtauld. He is also chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP), which is seeking to boost business and investment throughout the Haven Ports area of Harwich, Felixstowe and Ipswich.
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“We are anxious to embrace the town's historic past and ensure that these new developments complement and enhance its character, while bringing new vitality and investment to the town,” said Mr Courtauld.
“The masterplan has been adopted as planning guidance for the area by Tendring District Council and we now want to enter into preliminary discussions with investors and developers from both inside and outside the area who might be interested in these regeneration proposals.”
Besides the HGP, the regeneration group includes representatives from the East of England Development Agency, Harwich Haven Authority, Trinity House, Essex County Council, Tendring District Council, Harwich Town Council, the Harwich Society, Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, Mann Group, Milsom Hotels and local MP Douglas Carswell.
The masterplan divides Old Harwich into four zones - the existing quayside, the railway and bus station area, an amenity area and the proposed marina.
It is not directly dependent upon the approval of the Bathside Bay container terminal project currently before the Government, which also includes a marina area, but the end of port activity within the Navyard site is dependent on suitable alternative facilities being found.
A Tendring council spokeswoman said yesterday this was “work in progress”, with relocation to Harwich International Port among a number of possible options.