Sutton Bridge marina is ‘not for profit’ project

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TOURISM bosses and campaigners have promised that plans for a new marina in Sutton Bridge are not designed to make money for directors – and said they will put the village on the map.

The Nene Marine group has teamed up with Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland and Fenland district councils and the Port of Wisbech to deliver its £750,000 leisure marina dream on the waterfront at Sutton Bridge.

Work is expected to start on the west bank of the River Nene this summer and the marina should be ready for the 2012 boating season.

However, county, district and parish councillor Chris Brewis says he and several others in the village are “alarmed” by the terms of the Community Interest Company set up to run the marina.

Nene Marine secretary Jenny Rowe hit back at that criticism.

She said: “We are a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means that the money we raise from the marina will be used to keep the marina afloat. Any we get over and above that can be put into community projects.

“That’s the whole idea. It’s not a profit making company.

“The idea is that it will bring money into the parish. There is so much support for it in the parish.

“It’s really going to put Sutton Bridge on the map. It will really make Sutton Bridge the gateway to Lincolnshire.

“We are the poor relations at the moment, we always think we are the last town in Lincolnshire but we want to be the first.”

The articles of association for the CIC company, seen by the Lincolnshire Free Press, show that directors are entitled to remuneration. It also states that “except as provided by law” people will not be entitled to inspect the accounts.

In a letter Coun Brewis said: “Far from being a charitable organisation to benefit Sutton Bridge it seems to be a private company set up with secrecy and exclusivity as its main tenets, with the directors as the only obvious beneficiaries.”

Mrs Rowe said the accounts will be published as part of the CIC and that the project is above board, with support from the Port of Wisbech and Lincolnshire County Council.

Mary Powell, tourism development officer for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The new marina is a partnership between the county council, Nene Marine, the Port of Wisbech and Fenland District Council – there are no private companies involved.

“This is not a profit-making venture – it is designed to enhance the area, providing an economic boost to the community as a whole.

“Of course, we hope the marina becomes successful enough to turn a profit. However, this will be re-invested in the facilities, helping improve things further.

“We’re expecting to have contractors ready to start building by the end of the summer, which will mean the new facility will be in use for the 2012 boating season.

“Interest in the mooring facilities continues to grow and Nene Marine will soon be setting up their office to play their part in running the new marina.

“The Port of Wisbech will be the operator overseeing boat movements and will be contracted to Nene Marine to provide management services. So there’s a busy year ahead at Sutton Bridge, but a clear view of the finish is now in sight.”

However, Coun Brewis says there is still deep concern over the marina and called for the company’s structure to be changed.

He added: “There is a lot of strong feeling on this issue. I am really alarmed about it.”