Establishing a freeport at Harwich could be a “terrific opportunity” for Tendring.
That was the message from Tendring District Council (TDC) Leader Neil Stock OBE during this week's Budget speech (Tuesday, 11 February).
Reacting to the announcement by the Government earlier this week that it was looking to establish up to ten freeports in the UK, Councillor Stock said it was a concept he had discussed with the Secretary of State during a visit to Harwich before Christmas.
A freeport has different customs rules to the rest of the country, in a move which is designed to increase productivity, promote innovation, boost global trade, and attract inward investment.
Launching a consultation on the concept of a UK model of freeports, the Government’s stated aims are to set them up as national hubs for trade and investment, promote regeneration and job creation, and create hotbeds for innovation.
Speaking to full council last night, Councillor Stock said: “The devil, as always, will be in the detail and I will keep members informed as the consultation proceeds.
“We will engage with that to the fullest as it could represent a terrific opportunity for Harwich, and hence for the wider district.
“The Government is also considering planning reforms, additional targeted funding for infrastructure improvements and measures to incentivise innovation. Nobody could dispute that it sounds fantastic.”
During a visit by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to Harwich International Port last Autumn, Councillor Stock had pushed for investment into the A120 to Harwich as well as the potential for a freeport.