Group bid’s to re-open Yarmouth harbour road takes step forward

Outer Harbour 2015

Outer Harbour 2015 - Credit: Archant

More than 50 people attended a meeting to discuss the way forward in attempts to get the harbour road in Great Yarmouth re-opened – or access to port land.

It was held in Gorleston Library last Thursday and had been organised, following demand, by Mary Kent and Peter Biss, who had “met” writing about the subject on the Mercury letters pages.

Among the people attending were leader of the borough council Trevor Wainwright, borough councillors Barbara Wright and Kay Grey and county councillors Adrian Myers and Alan Grey.

Following a lengthy chain of letters regarding no access to the harbour road in the Mercury, Mrs Kent wrote inviting people to form a group and push for the road to be re-opened and/or sort of viewing/leisure area for what was lost.

Last week’s meeting was the first turning point in a co-ordinated effort to make representation to get access and to maybe find out a little more surrounding the circumstances that gave rise to this situation.

During the discussion Steve Taylor of Clarence Road said the whole business case for the road closure was because of container traffic, roll-on roll-off, security and health and safety and a segregated customs area. He asked as the port is not being used for this purpose, why can’t the road now be re-opened?

Cllr Wainwright explained that although the road is owned by Norfolk County Council it was closed by the Secretary of State for Department of Transport under an act of parliament in 2009. He explained that due to the worldwide economic collapse, there has been far less container traffic than envisaged.

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However, one of the biggest renewable energy companies in the world, is to move to the port, with ongoing negotiations for other contracts for turbines,

He added it was not possible to get near to Harrogate, Hull or Dover ports, why should Yarmouth be any different?

George Sipplings pointed our Felixstowe has Languard Point available for the public and yet it has around 2,000 containers coming in and out of the port. He felt the harbour road was closed off due to pollution levels from the vessels using the port.

Until 1980 there was 10ft access all around the port, said John Hughes, Given that the permission to close the road was due to large volume of containers, crossing the road, dangers etc and the volume has not materialised, surely the premise for closure was now null and void.

This point of view was echoed by another speaker who said he worked in the docks for 30 years during which time the port was very busy, including visits from HMS Norfolk.

A possible viewing platform was discussed again to give the public an opportunity to see activity in the outer harbour, an example was when HMS Dauntless visited again.

Mick Colley said he had worked for many years in the industry, including renewables and he did not have a problem with the port, just access to beach. He wanted to see port a great success but as the port is on the east side, why can’t this be fenced off and have separate security, and security on the inside and west side, with an opened up beach to the north of port?

It was agreed the majority of the group wanted access to the beach and/or a viewing platform and there was interest in trying to move forward as a group.

Councillors agreed to progress an application and endeavour to get other councillors board and also to approach Eastport about the viewing platform.