Call for public inquiry into Yarmouth outer harbour

A CALL for a public inquiry into the “gifting of grants and established river port” has been sent to the Department of Transport by Great Yarmouth Scrutiny and Heritage Group.

Spokesman John Cooper of Gorleston says in the official letter, sent last week: “The situation in Great Yarmouth regarding the outer harbour is becoming increasingly contentious between residents and our council.”

The group questions the negotiations carried out by the borough council and adds: “There has been no openness at any point concerning all negotiations, just spin and smokescreen.”

Among the points the group are raising with government are:

? “Giving away Gorleston Pier with no apparent safeguards to its future.”

? “Gifting the profitable parts of the Port to International Port Holdings, allowing prime buildings to be sold off.”

? Agreeing to Great Yarmouth Port Authority to retain only one of 4.5m shares in the new port company; the balance going to IPH thus losing the borough any controlling interests.

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? Placed “the burden of Haven Bridge and West Bank” on to ratepayers.

? Aware of leases not being renewed to companies on the peninsular in the port area.

? Aware the Outer Harbour was built differently to the intensive surveys which ratepayers paid a large percentage of the additional circa �1.5m for.

? Aware of why Superfast Ferries dropped out in 2006 with the loss of potentially hundreds of jobs.

Mr Cooper adds: “How much longer have the stakeholders, local community, and ratepayers to wait before the Department of Transport decides that enough is enough and proceeds with a public inquiry that many concerned citizens in the county are asking for.

“It is not just �19.5m, add the gifting of the river port, the reinforcing of South Quay Road, and the maintenance of quays and it is more like �70m. This is what this supposed lifesaver for the county has cost the county.”

The group is also asking why is there an embargo of 30 years on the public seeing the port authority minutes and accounts which they claim is in conflict with the department of transport’s guidelines.

Mr Cooper ended: “If you need me to collect signatures from the many people in this county and sub-region that want this public inquiry please tell me.”