Rail depot plan still on track
By John Howard and Mark HeathTHE man behind plans for a £50million rail freight depot insisted last night the scheme was still on track - despite the loss of one of the development partners.
THE man behind plans for a £50million rail freight depot insisted last night the scheme was still on track - despite the loss of one of the development partners.
A huge campaign had been mounted against the plan for the depot and warehouse on a 115-acre site next to the A1120 at Creeting St Peter.
Many residents feared their quality of life would be ruined by the development, which is the brainchild of Richard Turner, director of the Stowmarket Multi-Modal Distribution Park.
It was revealed yesterday that GB Railfreight Ltd, Mr Turner's development partner, had pulled out of the project for “commercial reasons”.
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However, Mr Turner - who has submitted an outline planning application to Mid Suffolk District Council - stressed the project was still on course.
“It's not the end of the development at all. I regret that GB Railfreight is not proceeding with the application,” he said.
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“However, they are one of several freight operators. The proposals are very much alive and two regional property development companies are competing with each other to progress the planning application with us.”
Mr Turner added: “Mid Suffolk District Council have requested a formal response in the near future and this will be forthcoming once a development partner is selected.
“There has been a delay because the layout of the scheme has been altered following the withdrawal of GB Railfreight's support, to render it more attractive to a variety of operators.”
The aim was originally to build the depot near the Port of Felixstowe, allowing containers to be swiftly processed, but a shortage of land led to the scheme moving to Creeting St Peter. It is thought the development could create up to 500 jobs.
Robert Eburne, planning control manager at the district council, said it had requested an environmental impact assessment from the developers in May 2003, but had heard nothing since.
He added the application had been held in abeyance since then and the council would be chasing the matter up to see if the developers were still interested in the site.