Scheme still in stormy waters after forty years

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BRIDLINGTON has been tantalised by the prospect of a new marina for more than 40 years.

A scheme was first mooted by resident Dennis Elsom in the late 1960s, which would have seen a marina built to the south of the town at Wilsthorpe.

But a disagreement with the local authority over the land available caused Mr Elsom to look elsewhere. He built another one in Toronto, Canada.

The town’s Harbour Commissioners floated a speculative proposal for a new marina in 1987, but it was considered too ambitious and drew little enthusiasm.

Detailed plans were formulated in the late 1990s by East Riding Council, but they failed to win the Commissioners’ approval and a bitter wrangle began.

Their opposition led to a costly year-long public inquiry begun in October 2001 and the £63m scheme was blocked in August 2003 by Alistair Darling, the then Transport Secretary.

The Commissioners subsequently submitted another plan for a smaller version, but this was in turn snubbed by the council.

The Commissioners’ role in sinking the council’s proposal provoked anger in the town and in 2005 local fishermen passed a vote of no confidence in them. The Chamber of Trade also voted to ban them from members’ premises until they resigned or supported the council’s proposals.

But then hopes were renewed in March 2010, when the council, the Commissioners and Yorkshire Forward agreed a preferred layout for a marina in what many saw as a landmark deal.

The agreed outline for the scheme featured the creation of 320 berths ranging from six metres to 15 metres, also allowing for some larger visiting and commercial berths, and 74 commercial berths of the same dimensions.

This formed the basis of the marina element of the Area Action Plan, but fresh divisions have now opened up between the council and the commissioners, and Yorkshire Forward has ceased to exist.