Trinity House reveals Harwich plans

AN £8 MILLION building is set to be built in the heart of an historic coastal town by maritime safety organisation Trinity House, it has emerged.It wants to redevelop its lighthouse service depot site on the corner of The Quay and George Street, in Harwich.

By Juliette Maxam

AN £8 MILLION building is set to be built in the heart of an historic coastal town by maritime safety organisation Trinity House, it has emerged.

It wants to redevelop its lighthouse service depot site on the corner of The Quay and George Street, in Harwich.

Plans have been drawn up for a landmark three-storey building which will incorporate a buoy shed and offices. There will also be parking for 75 cars on the three-acre site. The architecture is similar in style to the new lifeboat house further along the Quay.

Some existing buildings will be demolished, including a brick and concrete buoy shed, pillbox and service building. Rail tracks from the old train ferry will be pulled up and a telecommunications mast will be relocated. Other Trinity House buildings in the Quay will be sold.

Despite some concerns from Essex County Council's historic buildings advisor about how well the new building will fit in with other historic buildings near the Quay, the plans are likely to be given the green light by Tendring District Council's development control committee on Tuesday .

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Last year there were fears the service could leave Harwich altogether under a nationwide assessment of its bases by the lighthouse service.

But Trinity House decided to maintain its 190-year link with the town and this development safeguards about 150 jobs and create an extra 60 posts.

Yesterday Harwich Mayor Les Double said: "I'm happy to support anything that keeps employment in town. This is key to the new building, maintaining Trinity House in Harwich. We came very close to losing it. It's good news. We'll see work start pretty quick.

"It supports the whole economic development ethos of the town. There's no point working to create new jobs if we're not safeguarding the jobs we have got."

He added: "It needs a modern building for modern activity. Trinity House is very much ICT technology computer industry. It's not an industry that's labour intensive, it's an industry that controls vessels at sea from computers on shore. The building has to be sympathetic with that type of work and people want to have quality workplaces."

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