ABP Southampton has acquired a 41-acre waterfront site to facilitate growth in export cargoes
ABP has purchased the 41-acre Eling Wharf site, in what it describes as a multi-million pound investment, from Burt Boulton Holdings (BBH).
As well as securing local employment, the acquisition of Eling Wharf will support British businesses, said ABP. The port company’s Director, Southampton, Alastair Welch said: “Our investment is designed to enhance facilities available to British businesses and exporters looking to grow trade in international markets."
Southampton is the UK’s number one port for automotive exports and is home to what is currently the UK’s second largest container terminal. ABP has invested more than £280M over the past five years, including more than £50M in new vehicle export facilities. The newest vehicle terminal was recently opened by trade minister, Rt. Hon Greg Hands MP.
It is not known what ABP is paying for the land, but it is anxious to increase its land resources, particularly as land-hungry automotive ro-ro trades are seen as a vital element of future growth at Southampton.
The Eling Wharf site is a local "eyesore" and is currently used for container storage and related activities and container trucks have to use narrow roads to access it.
BBH had been in discussion with New Forest District Council for around five years for planning to develop new housing, shopping, light industrial, leisure and recreational facilities, with new road access directly off the A35.
BBH said it aimed to "deliver new employment opportunities, homes, shopping and leisure facilities set in a waterside location with greater public access, complementing the Eling quayside and historic Tide Mill."
Local councillors have expressed disasppointment that the site has gone to ABP, most likely for port-related use. Speaking to worldcargonews online, Councillor David Harrison said that there was never any question of the council buying the site. Part of the financing for BBH’s plans was tied to a deal with a leading supermarket chain, and that fell through.
On top of that, he added, the site is heavily contaminated due to past industrial activities and clean-up costs will be considerable. Toxins have leeched out into water sources and even led to highway works in the local high street being cancelled due to health and safety concerns.