HARBOUR IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Campaigner’s reaction

THE campaigner fighting for a public inquiry into the development of the Great Yarmouth outer harbour spoke of his disappointment after the meeting, fearing a whitewash.

John Cooper, 74, pictured, former port welfare officer at Yarmouth, said after the Norfolk County Council cabinet scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday: “I think there is going to be a cover-up of the real issue.

“The real issue is that the ratepayers are responsible when they should not have been. It was not acknowledged how much money was spent by the ratepayer. We are talking millions of pounds of ratepayers’ money.”

He was cynical about a suggestion by Eliza O’Toole, vice-chairman of harbour operators International Port Holdings (IPH), that the establishment of a community and maritime liaison committee showed the harbour operator would be communicating more with the public in future.

He also felt his question concerning why all stakeholders, including Yarmouth Port Authority, had not been involved in the outer harbour discussions, had not been answered.

The Authority has one share, worth �1.75, which Mr Cooper believed had been granted by Yarmouth Port Company to get around the state aid question.

He added: “Why has this maritime and community committee only come to light when there is a county council scrutiny committee meeting?

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“The stakeholders had not been involved in any discussions at all until we forced this cabinet scrutiny committee meeting to happen. As far as I am concerned it is hogwash.”