Harwich Bathside Bay port development start date unclear

The proposed Bathside Bay
Image caption The port is expected to create an estimated 700 jobs when it is completed

The developers of a proposed £300m container port in Essex have said they are still unsure when work will begin on the site.

The government confirmed earlier this week that planning permission given in 2006 had been extended for a further five years.

Paul Davey, from Hutchison Ports UK, said: "There is not really the prospect of the port in the very short term.

"Beyond that, it really does depend on the economic recovery."

The project will see the quay almost doubled in length to 2,500 metres (8,202 ft), allowing up to four deep sea container vessels at the port at one time.

It is expected to create about 700 jobs.

Mr Davey added: "We've always said Bathside Bay would be built according to market demand and that very much remains the case.

'Major catalyst'

"We remain committed to it and are also confident that demand will materialise.

"What we, the government and everybody is unsure about, is exactly when that will come."

Tendring District Council confirmed applications made to it in January requesting more time would not be called in by the government.

A further application regarding upgrades to the A120 into the town is still being considered by the minister for planning, Greg Clark. His verdict is expected at the beginning of 2012.

Mr Davey said before this was resolved, no work could begin.

He said: "The government decided it wanted us to put the road in place beforehand.

"What we've applied for is to allow us to start the reclamation of Bathside Bay before the road improvements are put in place."

He added that work would not start until the second phase of development at its Felixstowe port was completed.

Earlier this week, the Conservative leader of Tendring District Council, Neil Stock, said the delays had been "disappointing", but believed it would be a "huge boost" to the area.

He said: "It is the major catalyst for regeneration in Tendring."

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