Agenda item

Update on the Harbour Revision Order

To receive an update on progress towards the HRO application from representatives of Ashford’s Solicitors.


Tommy Fox of Ashfords Solicitors attended and referred to the previous meeting of the Harbour Board when an outline on the general process of a submission for a Harbour Revision Order (HRO) was made. He confirmed that the application for a Harbour Revision Order had now been submitted.


The HRO submission had been prepared in draft form and with a statement of support had been submitted to the regulator, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The application was submitted before the fee for submission increased. He thanked the Harbour Master and his team for their assistance in producing the required plans. Checks would be made by the MMO and could take any time up to six months. Once that part of the process was complete, there will be a 42 day public consultation and the application documents would be made available to the public. The document will be published on line, circulated in the local press and the MMO will send it to designated consultees. Individuals and organisations will be able to respond and comment on the application. Following the consultation, consultees will be contacted in relation to their response. Once all of the objections have been resolved the MMO will make a decision and either make a HRO or call a public Enquiry, which would be rare for a HRO of this nature. Once the HRO is made, it will be put to Parliament through the Department of Transport for laying. The whole timescale can be anything from 18 to 24 months from submission to determination, but once it is laid before Parliament, the Order will come into force two weeks later.  The Order can then be enforced and the Council will be able to exercise any provisions in the Order.


 He gave the following responses to questions:-


  • the timescale for the HRO will be from the submission date until the date of determination by the MMO and the date was impossible to gauge but could take from 18 to 24 months.
  • there has been an influx of applications made in the last two years and whilst 18 months may be a more realistic timeframe, much of the process was out of their control.
  • once the HRO is drafted, it becomes a Statutory Instrument and passes through two stages of validation, electronic and manual validation to check it will operate correctly as legislation, and ensure it is a complete application.
  • he will forward the question in relation to the jurisdiction limits onto to his colleague at Ashfords, along with the request to circulate the plan.
  • both he and the Harbour Master have discussed a pre-consultation exercise and there will be a few months to prepare for that. A pre-consultation should come just before the formal consultation, as there will be changes made to the documentation that will need to be updated. Time spent in a pre-consulation exercise would resolve possible issues. He suggested the pre-consulation might include a drop in session with Ashfords, or a more formal meeting.
  • lobbying MPs and Parliamentary pressure can be helpful but other Harbour Authorities would also likely take that opportunity.


The Chair thanked Board Members for wanting to become involved in the pre consultation exercise, but the Council had to manage the consultation appropriately with a formal City Council presence as well as Board Members. This would be discussed with Ashfords as part of the pre-consultation arrangements. A Board Member offered his services and suggested using other Board Members as ambassadors in support of the consultation. A Board Member also suggested publishing the methodology that will be used in the consultation to increase buy in by the public. 


The Harbour Master advised that a list of clubs and organisations to contact for the pre-consultaion had been drafted, and would be circulated for any further suggestions or additions.


The Chair responded to a Member over a matter raised in relation to levying charging and advised that the matter would in time need to be discussed by the Executive. She would speak to the Director and his officers to seek a view on this before coming back to the Board.


Thanks was expressed to Tommy Fox for the presentation and for meeting the application deadline along with an acknowledgment of the support of the Harbour Master and the waterways team.