Today, tucked away in one of the appendix papers for the upcoming April Cabinet meeting, the council admits they have acted “in breach” of their powers in connection with Newport Harbour – ie against the law.
Back in December 2011, VB highlighted the Newport Harbour Action Group’s (NHAGroup) allegation against the Isle of Wight council in their handling of the harbour. They accused it of “endemic law breaking”.
Later that day the harbour was due to be discussed at the Cabinet Meeting where seven people had lined up questions about it. At the last moment the subject was pulled from the agenda, saying it would be brought back to Cabinet.
Limit of three years on harbour leases
One of the issues highlighted by NHAGroup was that the council was explicitly banned by law from providing leases of more than three years on any of the harbour land. They also alleged that the council had granted leases far greater than this.
The appendix document published today proved that NHAGroup were correct in both aspects.
The way the council describes it is: “There are a number of properties within the current harbour estate which have been leased to third parties by the council for periods of three years or longer. This is in breach of the council’s powers to manage the harbour estate.”
This is as close as the council gets to confirming that they have acted against the law a number of times.
How many? Don’t know due to ‘Confidentiality’
Despite this the council have issued a number a number of leases that break the legal limit. How many we don’t know exactly as they have dropped the veil of ‘Confidentiality’ over an undisclosed number of them.
There are at least six.
The most extreme breach of this was the Premier Inn hotel, which was granted a 125 year lease in 1990 – over forty times the length the council was legally allowed to grant.
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