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Thousands support petition to save Ipswich Neptune Marina as Associated British Ports responds to fears

A petition to save Ipswich’s waterfront has garnered thousands of signatures after fears its new owners could render the quay vacant.

An organisation called Save Ipswich Waterfront set up a change.org petition last week over concerns Neptune Marina could be ‘removed completely’.

Residents fear this could be detrimental to businesses, visitors and people who live in the area.

Thousands have voted to save Ipswich Waterfront after ABP's acquisition.
Thousands have voted to save Ipswich Waterfront after ABP's acquisition.

However, Associated British Ports (ABP), which took over the waterfront this month, has tried to allay residents’ fears, and unveiled plans to make ‘significant investments’ in the area.

Save Ipswich Waterfront said: “ABP have taken over Neptune Marina. They are intending to remove the Marina completely.

“Their plan is to relocate all boats to an extended Haven Marina , leaving the town side quay empty.

“This will be detrimental to local businesses the residents, visitors and the marina as a whole.

“A Waterfront with no boats will destroy the unique continental feel Neptune has for many years provided.”

The petition will be presented to ABP’s directors.

But, Paul Ager, the divisional port manager for ABP, said the firm had no intentions of getting rid of Neptune Marina.

He said: “ABP has recently taken ownership of Neptune Marina and has plans to make a significant investment in Ipswich Waterfront.

“A key focus for ABP in its acquisition of Neptune is to improve the experience for all berth owners and to build on the legacy and incredible foresight of Alan Swann who launched Neptune Marina back in 1982 with just one pontoon.

“We are not getting rid of Neptune Marina altogether and no marina resident will be left without good options to remain in Ipswich.”

Mr Ager believed the developments would secure a ‘positive future’ for visitors and residents to the waterfront, as well as the wider town.

He added:Our acquisition of Neptune Marina and our investments in Ipswich Marina and waterfront represent an exciting chapter in the development of the area.

“We understand that any change will bring questions, and we are engaging with local residents and groups and listening to their views.

“There will be changes but they will be for the better. We want to collaborate and work together to achieve a shared vision that benefits the entire community for years to come.”