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Deadlock in shipping plans is broken by anti-noise pledge; Residents group will not oppose dock expansion.

Byline: by nick cougan

A BREAKTHROUGH in talks with angry families could help plans for an pounds 80m shipping terminal.

A chief objector will no longer block moves to expand Seaforth dock so it can handle giant container ships.

It follows the dock owner's pledge to put up noise barriers so the proposed 800-metre quayside does not affect Waterloo residents.

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company's plan will still go before a public inquiry in two months because of mass protests from the terminal's neighbours.

But Waterloo residents association, which represents 7,000 households, will not oppose it.

Chairman Ian Hamilton Fazey said: "Movement of empty containers within the port makes the most noise, and they're stored close to homes in Cambridge Road at the moment.

"But if the new terminal is built, they'll be relocated a mile-and-a-half away.

"MDHC is also going to put up acoustic barriers so noise is deflected upwards, rather than around the neighbourhood.

"We were concerned road traffic in and out of the port would double, but we now know a great number of containers will be unloaded on to other ships or taken away by rail."

The group has also asked MDHC to put money into a fund to pay for noise reduction measures like double-glazing for the dock's closest neighbours.

The plan would open up the dock to bigger ships, potentially bringing millions of pounds into Mersey side's economy.

At the public inquiry, a government inspector will hear the arguments for and against the development. If he sides with the objectors, it might have to be shelved for the near future.

MDHC has held discussions to try and remove opposition, which previously included the council.

It has already agreed to reopen the Radar Tower, near Crosby marina, to the public, and allow anglers back onto the dock site.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2006
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