THE BUDGET yesterday announced the creation of eight new English Freeports one of which will be based in the Humber. Humber Freeport status will have ramifications for the local area.
The Humber Freeport plan was initiated and led by Associated British Ports (ABP). It is supported by the four Humber local authorities of East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North and North East Lincolnshire. Also lending their weight are the Greater Lincolnshire and Humber Local Enterprise Partnerships.
In his budget speech yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak spoke about Freeports being areas where businesses will benefit from more generous tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and wider government support. They will bring investment, trade and jobs regenerating regions across the country that need it most. Freeports, he asserted, will benefit the whole of the UK.
The ports of Goole, Immingham and Grimsby are target areas of the new Freeport. The Humber International Enterprise Park near Paull and Hedon is earmarked as a key location.
Humber International Enterprise Park.
The planning application for the Enterprise Park is lodged with the East Riding Council. It was deferred last month while fuller consultation takes place. The Chancellor’s announcement yesterday will be a significant spur to ABP to drive that project forward.
The granting of Freeport status will certainly be an issue on the minds of Planning Committee members. They have to weigh up the economic momentum that has built up behind the Humber International Enterprise Park, against the plight of the small village of Paull and the town of Hedon. The development will have significant impacts on the South West Holderness ward area. Councillor John Dennis as ward representative said at the Planning Committee on 4th February: “I appeal to members to be brave and reject the application; imagine if it was your community that was going to be changed irreparably forever?” However, with planning reasons to reject the application disappearing, the mammoth development looks set to roll on and over that appeal.
Considering the size of the development being proposed and the players involved, then comparisons with the David and Goliath parable are inevitable. We know how that story ended when David found the giant’s vulnerable spots. We might ask in this case; how many stones are left to fire at the behemoth?
Find out more about the planning application at the East Riding Publc Access website and search for reference: 18/04071/STPLFE.