Roads to close for harbour

STRICT custom controls at Great Yarmouth's new outer harbour will keep even locals away from the scenic sweep of the harbour's mouth, a view enjoyed by locals for generations.

STRICT custom controls at Great Yarmouth's new outer harbour will keep even locals away from the scenic sweep of the harbour's mouth, a view enjoyed by locals for generations.

From early next year the area south of Hartmann Road will be off-limits to locals - open only to people on official port business.

An order has been made to stop-up South Beach Parade and South Denes Road, close to the former Omnipac site, in order to restrict movements at the outer harbour.

The stopping-up order signals the end of journeys along the South Denes loop for locals, a traditional pastime enjoyed by many who would park up and enjoy an ice-cream while taking views across to Gorleston - a loss possibly offset by a viewing platform.

This week the borough council's head of regeneration Tim Howard said the schemes benefits were had to argue with.

“This is a rebirth rather than a new life,” he said. “The outer harbour is the biggest development Yarmouth has seen in 100 years, possibly even longer and I'm confident it will flourish despite the current economic climate. It has a great team behind it,” he added.

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Mr Howard explained the stopping-up order was necessary for the port to function safely.

He said: “The loop will effectively move north to Hartmann Road. People generally will not be able to go beyond Hartmann Road unless they are on port business. The principal reason for that is because part of the port will be a customs control area - there has to be some restriction of movement around that area.”

However, Mr Howard also revealed that the council had been in talks with outer harbour operator Eastport UK over a viewing platform, likely to be off South Beach Parade and north of Hartmann Road.

The land at South Denes is set to become a vital backbone for the outer harbour - where loading and unloading containers could take place.

The three largest sites on South Denes are J&H Bunn who will continue to operate from their South Denes premises; the tank and tents site which is subject to a compulsory purchase order by the council; and the former egg-carton manufacturer Omni-Pac which is subject to a planning application by the port company.

Mr Howard stressed that businesses within the restricted site, including non-port related companies, would not be affected by the road closure with access for workers maintained.

A lot of land around the outer harbour is designated port land - including the section east of South Beach Parade stretching from the outer harbour to just south of Nelson's Monument.

The majority of council-owned land on the South Denes peninsula has been leased to the port company and in return the borough council has regained ownership of a section of land on the Gorleston riverside.

The stopping-up order, made last month, will go through a round of consultation before a decision is made next year.

He said: “The outer harbour will bring this area back to where it once was. Previously the river port was deemed to be adequate for the 6,000 tonne ships. However, as the ships got bigger the port could not accommodate them. The ships using the outer harbour will be five times the size.”

Last month the Mercury revealed that the port company had submitted plans to the council to develop the former Omnipac for port administration, a transit warehouse, and depot.

The northern and southern breakwaters of the £50m-plus project are virtually completed and more than 500,000m3 of sand has been dredged and reclaimed. The first of two gantry cranes will be delivered to the site by the end of March next year and the first phase of a £30m container terminal will be operating by September 2009. Building work on the outer harbour is expected to end in the first quarter of 2009.