Town to get port referendum

By Juliette MaxamCAMPAIGNERS opposed to a plan for a large container port won last night their attempt to hold a referendum on the development.Groups opposed to Hutchison Ports' multi-million-pound development of Bathside Bay, Harwich, have called for a parish poll.

By Juliette Maxam

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a plan for a large container port won last night their attempt to hold a referendum on the development.

Groups opposed to Hutchison Ports' multi-million-pound development of Bathside Bay, Harwich, have called for a parish poll.

About 120 people packed into Long Meadows Community Centre, Dovercourt, last night to discuss whether there should be a poll asking people “Do you oppose the development of a deep-sea container port at Bathside Bay?”


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A motion to hold the parish poll was defeated by 68 votes to 49, but John Noble, of Harwich Fishermens' Association, then called for 10 people to support him in demanding a parish poll by invoking the powers of the Parliamentary Act.

Harwich town councillor Garry Calver warned the meeting that a referendum would cost the town council £5,000, but more than 10 people supported Mr Noble's call, meaning a poll will have to be held.

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Speaking after the meeting, Jenni Meredith, of Residents Against Port Expansion, said: “I knew we'd find it difficult. We knew it was going to be a difficult meeting because the law is so convoluted.

“We've now got a lot of work to do in the town because a lot of people don't know the facts.”

Mr Calver said: “I'm very pleased that for the first time the people of Harwich have had the opportunity to express their views and have given a clear indication that they want the Bathside Bay development.

“In my opinion it's now for the 10 individuals who are imposing the cost of this referendum on the town against the wishes of its' residents to justify their actions.”

Hutchison Ports wants to build a multi-million-pound deep-sea container terminal at Bathside Bay, which has sparked protest and opposition within Harwich and Shotley, across the estuary.

Concerns have included noise, increased traffic and an adverse affect on wildlife and fish stocks - but supporters claimed it would bring jobs and regeneration to the area.

A five-month planning inquiry into the proposal was held last year and the planning inspector's findings are due later this year.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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