A planning wrangle over a 900-acre energy park that could create as many as 4,000 jobs has escalated with Associated British Ports (ABP) demanding a Judicial Review into of the Government’s approval for the scheme.
The ABP move to block the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP) on the south bank of the Humber has been described by the project developers as showing “a blatant disregard for the planning process, for Parliament, the overwhelming views of the local community–and is seriously damaging the economic development prospects of the South Humber Bank”.
Part of the UK’s largest enterprise zone and set to cost £450m, the scheme got the go-ahead in October despite port operator ABP filing two petitions earlier in the year seeking a compromise over the compulsory purchase of a triangle of land it owns. ABP wants to build a new jetty in the same place.
Neil Etherington, group development director of Billingham-based Able UK, contrasted the latest attempt to block the construction of the Humber park with the “relenting efforts” of his own firm in support for ABP’s “Green Port Hull” development.
“We are sure that by taking this step ABP is even more isolated than they were from virtually every other interest on the Humber — the Local Enterprise Partnership, the local business community, local Members of Parliament and their constituents — the vast majority of whom will be appalled that a development of such importance to the area is again being delayed and put into jeopardy by the actions of a single company,” Etherington said in a statement.
“ABP really is at the last chance saloon and we see their response as being as spiteful as it is desperate,” he added. “We remain entirely confident that due process, as it has already, will see through their tiresome and vindictive smoke and mirrors.
“This latest legal tactic is attempting to overthrow not only the decision of the Joint Parliamentary Committee — who rejected ABP’s petitions before even hearing Able’s case — but also both the hugely detailed and lengthy planning enquiry and then ultimately the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport,” Etherington concluded.
Under October’s Development Consent Order (DCO) Able was given permission to create the massive facility and ABP was ordered to sell it the strip of land needed for the new quay.
“Regrettably, the DCO allows for the compulsory purchase of the Port of Immingham’s last remaining undeveloped land with access to deep water,” commented Humber ports director, John Fitzgerald, explaining that ABP wants to develop the disputed site with several of its customers into the Immingham Western Deepwater Jetty.
“ABP regards the process by which the DCO was granted as being seriously flawed,” Fitzgerald said. “ABP has been willing to set aside its concerns over the consent process in the interests of reaching a compromise that would allow both developments to proceed.”
Its expected energy park project will now be put on hold while legal experts examine the port company’s latest objections.
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