THE FIRST train maintenance centre for wheels in East Anglia is set for land in Harwich.

Greater Anglia has put forward an official planning application to build the wheel reprofiling centre next to the A120 near Pheonix Bridge.

The site is reclaimed land currently allocation for tree planting in the long-awaited Bathside Bay development.

But if approved, the metal depot with a wheel lathe could be built creating up to 10 jobs.

There would be a train maintenance centre, service yard, store, office and welfare, with a car park to provide 11 car parking spaces, two disabled spaces, 10 cycle spaces and three powered two wheeled vehicle spaces.

A design and access report sent to the council, said: "It is understood that the land was ‘reclaimed’ from the Stour Estuary in the mid 1980s, using material arising from channel dredging.

"Plans for a new container port permitted by Tendring Council in 2010 with commencement at any time prior to 2021 include all the reclaimed land, with the rail maintenance depot site allocated for tree planting.

"The site south of the A120 is the site of the proposed wheel-lathe development and is within the boundary of Station Lane Grassland Local Wildlife Site designated for its flower-rich grassland and brownfield land."

Greater Anglia has said a number of locations have been considered for the depot, which would be the first of it's kind on the franchise area to maintain the planned new trains.

It comes after plans for a £70million state-of-the-art train depot at the former Wardle Storeys/ICI site in Factory Lane, Brantham were unveiled in 2017.

The plans were set to see the creation of between 30 and 100 jobs with 13 tracks where trains can be parked overnight for cleaning and maintenance, two undercover tracks in a 300-metre shed with full under-train inspection pits and cranes as well as a wheel lathe for repairs.

But the idea halted due to issues with the land owner and extra movements on the level crossing at Manningtree.

A presentation included in the Harwich application added: "Various sites being looked at around the franchise area – but a site between Harwich International and Dovercourt stations shows strong potential."

The development would be the second big maintenance centre near Harwich International Port.

Work started in December on a new £10million state-of-the-art operations and maintenance base for Galloper Offshore Windfarm.

Construction is expected to take about 12 months and create 120 jobs, both direct and indirect.

It will be home to a team of 60 staff.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We're still finalising our new maintenance and stabling plans. We'll confirm more details once all the plans are agreed.

“We have submitted a planning application to Tendring Council and await their decision.”