2017 Member’s ‘Away Day’, 7/9/2017

There are major and interesting redevelopment plans afoot within the City of Southampton and one of our Society’s roles is to examine the impact any proposed development may have on the local environment, and upon the seascape

This year we shall again be waterborne as we explore the River Itchen and the upper reaches of Southampton Water to view, with commentary, the various sites which are designated for change.

For further details, please take the following link: SPS 2017 Away day

ABP Southampton Port Master Plan 2016-2035

One of the most high-profile campaigns that the Society ever fought was its vigorous opposition at the beginning of this century to Associated British Ports’ planning application to develop land at Dibden Bay in Southampton Water in order to expand its port facilities. The Society gave evidence at the long-running Enquiry and was greatly relieved when the Inspectors recommended rejection of the application and this recommendation was accepted by the Government.

It appears that ABP has never given up hope that it might one day be able to carry out the plan  which was rejected in 2002  and has recently published a consultation document entitled ‘ABP Southampton Port Master Plan 2016-2035 Consultation Draft’ .This wide-ranging paper running to some 50 odd  pages raises the idea in a section of it that ABP,  in  order to remain competitive in the 21st Century and in order to advance the economic well-being of the Country , must look at developing its land frontage at Dibden Bay.

Ranging as it does over a period of 20 years , the consultation document gives no detail of what is proposed but merely outlines what ABP thinks the future holds for them and the Port of Southampton and how its needs might be met. The document invites comment on its content and Solent Protection Society has been alert in submitting some preliminary observations. In summary , SPS has informed ABP that since its principles remain as they were in 2002 , the Society would scrutinise any plans in the light of those principles and would be ready to object to any proposals which were in conflict with the grounds which it relied upon at the public enquiry in 2002 . Those grounds cover the well-recognised areas of interest for SPS including the adverse effects on the seascape , the local water wild-life and the leisure activities ,in particular boating in the area.

It may well be months if not years before ABP translate their ambitions into concrete proposals but SPS has put down its marker and will develop its arguments as the need arises. SPS will examine any proposals on their merits and be constructive in its representations and comments. It will seek to co-operate with other organisations and groups where there is common interest in the ABP proposals. It is easy to envisage that Dibden Bay and the plans for its future may be on the SPS Council agenda for many moons to come

SPS Response to ABP – November 24th 2016

A change to the Southampton skyline

The container  cranes on what used to be 201/2 berth at Southampton Container terminal are over 400  ft high. They are visible from many parts of Southampton. Absolutely vital to the maintenance of the port as a major player on the international stage, but one is bound to wonder where the race for size will stop. Container ship capacity has doubled in the last 10 years

For a detailed report, click here

Dibden Bay? – but not yet…..

In a retirement interview in the Daily Echo, Doug Morrison, former Port Director at ABP Southampton, confirmed that it is still ABP policy to develop a port facility at Dibden Bay. The need has been delayed by the development of a deep water berth in the Western Docks. The acquisition of the Marchwood Military port by ABP could also put back the need for a Dibden development, said Morrison.

This view is consistent with data published by the MM0 in its Economic Baseline Assessment of the South coast. The report confirms an expectation that container traffic will continue to increase. In the last 10 years the size of container ships has roughly doubled, so traffic volumes have increased much faster than ship movements. The report also anticipates that the development of Dibden could.be reconsidered in about six years time.

In the interview Doug Morrison said of the Dibden project :“There’s nowhere else.

“Goods will always come from where manufacturing is cheapest. It will always come by sea. At some point or other, where else have you got 800 acres of land next to deep water anywhere else in the country? I can’t think of any without spending billions upon billions like Boris’s Airport in the Thames.”

City Deal takes a £400 million step forward

The Daily Echo reports that a £400 million deal to redevelop Portsmouth and Southampton is due to be finalised any day now.

Inevitably, investment on this scale will transform city skylines. It seems likely that the long awaited Royal Pier redevelopment would be one of the priority projects. If that improves traffic flow in that part of Southampton, and allows greater public access to the waterfront, then it is to be welcomed.But SPS  will try to make sure that such developments do not detract from the amenity value of the Solent.