Reassurance on port development fears

By Annie DavidsonREASSURANCES have been given that the developers of a proposed multi-million-pound container port would not be allowed “to do what they like, when they like”.

By Annie Davidson

REASSURANCES have been given that the developers of a proposed multi-million-pound container port would not be allowed “to do what they like, when they like”.

Fears have been voiced that if the major scheme planned for Bathside Bay in Harwich was allowed to go ahead, then any future developments within the port boundary would go unchecked.

Beryl Cann, of Elmhurst Road, Dovercourt, told a public inquiry into the application yesterday that residents were worried they would have no redress against future changes within the port area.


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Referring to a fence that was put up around Bathside Bay about three years ago, Miss Cann said: “People have been very upset about the fence being put up after years and years of dog walking.

“Things have been upsetting the residents quite a lot. To whom would we go to make a complaint? I gather they can do what they like, when they like.”

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But inquiry chairman Ken Smith reassured Miss Cann that if planning permission was granted for the container port, then there could be many conditions attached to the consent.

He cited the example that the number of and height of cranes within the port could be specified in the planning permission conditions.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd wants to expand Harwich International Port and create Harwich International Container Terminal on the adjoining Bathside Bay.

The plan, which was first revealed in October 2000, has divided opinion among residents in Harwich and Dovercourt, many of whom are having their say at the inquiry.

If the scheme goes ahead, the expansion would mean a further 1,400 metres of quay, 11 ship-to-shore gantry cranes and the capacity to deal with the world's largest container ships.

The inquiry also heard from Lady Lewis, of West Street, Harwich, who quoted the historic buildings' adviser from Essex County Council in her proof of evidence.

Lady Lewis said the adviser felt the “development will have an unacceptably damaging effect”.

However, she agreed with Timothy Straker QC, for Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, that the council's position had since changed.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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