Great Yarmouth outer harbour under the spotlight

A multi-million pound plan to develop Great Yarmouth's outer harbour was put under the spotlight today.

Norfolk County Council's scrutiny meeting held a special two hour session looking at whether the �18m of public cash invested in the scheme had been well spent.

The packed meeting also heard questions and concerns raised by Gorleston campaigner John Cooper linked to the changing nature of the scheme and whether the county council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council had short-changed the public by giving away assets too cheaply.

Mr Cooper said the architects of the scheme had changed the mandate of the project and also accused the commercial operators Eastport of having no road map to develop the harbour.

'Our port doesn't seem to have a road map at all,' Mr Cooper said. 'What we need is a proper map, and stick to it.'

But Eliza O'Toole, vice chairman of Eastport's parent company International Port Holdings said the port's development was driven by the commercial needs of customers, although she conceded the firm needed to be better at communicating with the public and stakeholders about what it does.

She said tonight would see the first meeting of a new community and marine liaison committee at Great Yarmouth town hall, where businesses and public bodies linked to the port would be able to discuss ongoing issues.

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'In our first 12 months we have focussed very much first of all on growing the trade of the river port,' she said. 'In addition we very much focussed on the construction of the outer harbour. Unfortunately we didn't focus well enough on communications with stakeholders. You have my word we will undertake better communications going forward.'

The committee agreed to revisit the issue in 18 months.

For a full report see Wednesday's EDP.