New rail depot could create 500 jobs

A MAJOR rail freight depot could be built in the centre of Suffolk creating an estimated 500 jobs, it has emerged.Land next to the A1120 at Creeting St Peter, near Stowmarket, is the location wanted for the depot and warehouse.

By John Howard

A MAJOR rail freight depot could be built in the centre of Suffolk creating an estimated 500 jobs, it has emerged.

Land next to the A1120 at Creeting St Peter, near Stowmarket, is the location wanted for the depot and warehouse.

The site is being looked at due to a shortage of land near the dockside at the expanding Port of Felixstowe.


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Mid Suffolk District Council has just received an outline planning application for the development, which also includes other buildings and offices.

GB Railways PLC, whose London-based subsidiary GB Railfreight Ltd takes on major freight haulage contracts from Felixstowe, has identified the need for a depot close to the port.

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This would allow containers to be swiftly removed from the congested dockside and roads, creating somewhere for them to be sorted and repackaged for onward transit.

A spokesman for GB Railfreight Ltd said: "Due to land shortages at the port we are seeking a substantial rail connected depot nearby, where containers can be stored, transhipped, broken and repacked.''

The possible development has been welcomed by Stowmarket mayor Keith Scarff, who believes new jobs would be a boost for the area – but he also warned that the environment impact should be carefully considered.

Mr Scarff said: "This would be a good thing, bring employment in to the town. With Stowmarket linked to the rail network it is a logical place for some sort of sidings yard."

But he added: "I would want to know more about the environmental impact, it's in the Gipping river area which is a reasonably sensitive area, but there is a lot of industrial development alongside the river.''

Mr Scarff said any development would also need to look at whether new road junctions would need to be built to help the local network cope.

The exact location of the proposed development is on land next to the A1120 Cedars Link, Creeting St Peter.

The company's development partner and applicant for the planning application, Richard Turner, of Stowmarket Multi-Modal Distribution Park, said: "The continued expansion of the Port of Felixstowe and the shortage of land at the dockside has generated demand for additional facilities in the immediate hinterland, enabling more efficient use of rail connections.''

Mr Turner said the development would be particularly appropriate because it is next to a major railway line and A14 junction. It could provide an estimated 350 full-time and 150 part-time jobs.

The town's chamber of commerce also believes the development would be good for the town, boosting the local economy.

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk District Council said because of the size of the proposed development the applicant must look in to the environmental impact. Preparing an environmental statement can take several months.

Rodney Self, principal planning officer for the district council, said the application was at a very early stage.

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