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Great Yarmouth outer harbour inquiry: Fight to get port papers is lost

PUBLISHED: 09:31 05 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:31 05 April 2013

Outer Harbour. Picture: Mike Page

Outer Harbour. Picture: Mike Page

Archant

Confidential port documents will not be released ahead of next week’s outer harbour inquiry, the Mercury can reveal.

Objectors had hoped documents including the 99-year lease of the outer harbour could be put into the public domain, but government inspector Lloyd Rodgers ruled that they were not relevant.

And with no witnesses set to be called to defend the port’s position, objectors fear they will not be able to sink their teeth into the issues at stake.

The three-day inquiry will examine whether it is right to grant the £80m port’s Harbour Revision Order (HRO) of 2010.

It will begin at the town hall on Tuesday at 10am, continuing on Wednesday and concluding on Friday, and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Dennis Durrant, who is set to speak against the application, said: “The port company will have no witnesses so we’ve nothing to question them on.

“They can question us and we’re just country boys lined up against a London barrister.

“I don’t like the look of it.”

He added he was disappointed the confidential documents were not deemed “necessary” by Mr Rodgers.

The inspector reached his conclusion after reviewing submissions from John Cooper, of Great Yarmouth Scrutiny and Heritage Group, and the port company - which argued against the release of documents.

Michael Boon, retired chief executive of the port authority, had also called for their release but later withdrew his submissions.

The inquiry was called by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the inquiry will put forward recommendations to it ahead of a decision on the HRO.

Objectors at the meeting are set to include Mr Cooper, Mr Boon, Mr Durrant, Bourne Leisure, Great Yarmouth Port Users’ Association, Hopton Coastal Action Group, and Nick Pownall.

The port’s barrister stressed arguments should not veer away from the HRO.

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