Deal done on new yard
Dominic Bareham A NEW storage yard for containers from the new outer harbour in Great Yarmouth should spring up following a last minute agreement between port operator Eastport UK and the site's owners.
A NEW storage yard for containers from the new outer harbour in Great Yarmouth should spring up following a last minute agreement between port operator Eastport UK and the site's owners.
The borough council had taken out a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on behalf of Eastport to buy the five hectare site in South Denes from investment company Oaklawn Ltd, but it was dropped after the port operator agreed a long term extension to its lease.
Council officers said they had stepped in and made the order to buy the “important” site after negotiations over Eastport's lease extension had fallen through - a claim later denied by Oaklawn Ltd, which had mounted a legal challenge against the order.
This challenge resulted in a public inquiry into the council's handling of the order being opened at Yarmouth Town Hall on Tuesday morning only to be swiftly closed by David Rose from the Planning Inspectorate, after the lease agreement was reached that morning.
On Wednesday, Simon Parrott, a solicitor representing Oaklawn Ltd, said no negotiations had taken place between Eastport UK and Oaklawn over extending the lease prior to the CPO being made, which was why the legal challenge was mounted.
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He said: “This failure, together with the incorrect drafting of the order, represented the major grounds of Oaklawn's challenge. The agreement was reached after an important concession was made by Eastport. All the terms of the agreement remain confidential between the parties.”
Chris Skinner, head of central services at the borough council, said after the hearing the council had been planning to buy the plot near Yarmouth power station, known as the Tank and Tent site, with public funds and the port operator would then pay back the money.
He said: “The council was convinced that there was a compelling case in the public interest for this CPO to be made. From the outset we were presented with evidence as to the importance of this land and we made the CPO.”
Part of the site will store containers from the outer harbour, while the rest of the land will be used for general port uses including cargo handling and storage.
The Tank and Tent name stems from the site's previous uses as a home for oil tanks for the old power station and as a camp site for holidaymakers visiting the town. The site is currently being used to store aggregates and other materials.