Port plan's economic boost probed

By Annie DavidsonAN economist has been challenged on the benefits of a proposed £300million port expansion. David Lawrence is an associate partner with Roger Tym and Partners, who were commissioned to undertake an economic impact assessment on the proposed Bathside Bay container terminal in Harwich.

By Annie Davidson

AN economist has been challenged on the benefits of a proposed £300million port expansion.

David Lawrence is an associate partner with Roger Tym and Partners, who were commissioned to undertake an economic impact assessment on the proposed Bathside Bay container terminal in Harwich.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited wants to develop a new deep-water container port next to Harwich International Port, providing 1,400 metres of quay and 11 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.


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It claimed the expansion would create 772 new jobs directly with a further 900 in supporting industries and services, and generate £50m a year for the local economy.

A public inquiry into the project is currently under way and is expected to last until September.

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At the hearing yesterday, Mr Lawrence was questioned by John Noble, of Harwich Fisherman's Association.

Mr Lawrence said the most recent data showed there were 1,700 unemployed people in the Tendring district.

He confirmed to Mr Noble that these figures included Clacton and added: “I see no reason why unemployed people in Clacton can't work in Harwich.”

But Mr Noble said Clacton was 20 miles away on a poor road and asked whether a bus would be provided to bring workers to Harwich.

Mr Lawrence pointed out the unemployment figures were above the regional average and Harwich was a priority area for economic regeneration.

However, Mr Noble said he had not “seen anything that gives me any confidence in that judgment.”

He added: “We have said there is a big question mark over the unemployment numbers. It is not a significant amount.”

Mr Lawrence said areas of deprivation had been identified by various indicators, including high mortality rates, low educational attainment, high levels of crime and low access to social, leisure and cultural facilities.

But Mr Noble pointed out Harwich had a low crime rate, with levels half the national average.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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