“In our efforts to see the Harbour properly invested, it is inevitable that our trustees’ Harbour view (always based on professional advice) sometimes conflicts with that of the Statutory Harbour Authority’s shareholder/directors, particularly when it appears the SHA is being disadvantaged to the benefit of other companies they also own. This was the case in the long running BIL planning application referred to in the above letter. We make no apologies for any changes they have had to make to their plans as a result of our interventions, as they benefitted the SHA.
In this instance Mr Thorpe complains about BHT’s intervention regarding the public process of a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) application, connected with that same development proposal. Mr Thorpe certified that the SHA owns a piece of land, but he certified BIL as its owner in the planning application. (Land Registry shows it’s the SHA). We also pointed out that the MMO is, perhaps unreasonably, being asked to approve works for which there is no detailed planning permission, so no approved design/specification. The MMO clearly thought these points were relevant or they would not have reacted.
Mr Thorpe also repeats his complaint about the cost of our actions to the SHA. We repeat that we believe they are far outweighed by the improvement in the SHA’s financial position achieved, as a result of our interventions in both planning and judicial review. Also, those costs could have been largely avoided by agreeing to repay the contested loans – which were ultimately repaid anyway.
Court rules restrict the issues it may consider. As such concerns remain over £1.75M of cash and assets extracted from the SHA to other Thorpe owned companies. The aforementioned matter of land ownership is one example where the SHA could lose out hugely: under the terms of the s106 agreement it could be denied payment for land it owns AND be charged rent on it for 25+ years. We will continue to fight on the harbour’s behalf.
Chris Attrill, Jonathan Bacon, William Bland, Jeremy Gully (chair), Phil Jordan, Norman Marshall, Sara Smith, as Trustees