Facilitating BWML marina investment

The request was partially successful.

Dear British Waterways Board,

In a letter dated 16 June, 2011, from Richard Benyon MP to Andrea Leadsom, MP, Mr Benyon states: "Whenever BW is able to facilitate any marina business investment, it offers the opportunity to the trade market generally and seeks offers by any interested party."

Can you advise me as to where and by what means BW brought to the attention of the trade market the opportunities to acquire both Portavon and Cowroast marinas?

Yours faithfully,

Dominic Miles

Information Request,

Dear Mr Miles,

Thank you for your e-mail.

We will now review the information that we hold relating to your request and a response will be sent as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days of the receipt of your request on 26th September 2011.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Find out more about the exciting new waterways charity for England and Wales here http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/charity
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

show quoted sections

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

May I suggest for the benefit of the public and commercial interests that Mr Miles makes it clear that he wishes British Waterways response to be via whatdotheyknow.com

Information Request,

Dear Mr Miles

The key phrase in Mr Benyon‚Äôs letter is ‚ÄúWhenever BW is able to facilitate any marina business investment‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

Anyone who owns a legal interest in real property is free to sell that interest and to select the method of sale. If it is a leasehold property then this right could be restricted if the lease contains a strict prohibition on assignment. In such cases the sale could not go ahead unless the landlord is prepared to waive this restriction. This is the general position in England and Wales and not unique to BW property.

In the two cases you have mentioned the marinas are in fact privately owned and not held leasehold from BW.

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Find out more about the exciting new waterways charity for England and Wales here http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/charity
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

show quoted sections

FAO: Kelly Radley, Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts.

Dear Ms Radley,

I think the response to my request is obtuse, and misses the point. If you acquire a copy of the letter from Richard Benyon MP to Andrea Leadsom MP you will see that it is in response to her querying the injection of up to £4 million by BW into BWML. That was stated as funds, provided interest free, for the purposes of marina acquisition. Therefore BW was and is facilitating marina business investment. BW should have offered the same opportunity to acquire Portavon and Cowroast Marinas "to the trade market generally".

On the matter of leasing, not a single one of the 18 marinas leased by BW to BWML was offered to the trade market for tender. Why not?

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Miles

Information Request,

Dear Mr Miles,

Thank you for your e-mail today.

I am sorry that you are not entirely satisfied by our response to your request made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

It is clear that you have concerns which fall outside of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. In your last e-mail you ask why 'not a single one of the 18 marinas leased by BW to BWML was offered to the trade market for tender'; under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) public authorities are not required to provide explanations, comments, or justification.

However, I have spoken with our National Boating Trade Manager, Phil Spencer, this morning. He understands that you intend to attend the meeting with BW on 19th October in Milton Keynes. He is happy to put some time aside to speak to you about these concerns either before or after the meeting. If you would like to take him up on the offer please call him on his mobile (07710 175 342) to let him know what time would be most convenient.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Find out more about the exciting new waterways charity for England and Wales here http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/charity
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

show quoted sections

Dear Sarina,

Without wishing to labour the point, BW states through Richard Benyon that, "Whenever BW is able to facilitate
any marina business investment, it offers the opportunity to the trade market generally and seeks offers by any interested party."

BW facilitated the investment in, i.e. acquisition of, Cowroast and Portavon marinas by providing funding to its wholly owned subsidiary, BWML. Would it be correct to infer from your replies that the opportunity to acquire these marinas was not offered to the trade market generally?

The same letter from which I quote continues, "BWML are required to bid in exactly the same manner as any other independent operator." What exactly was the bidding process (if any) by which they successfully gained the leases for the other 18 marinas owned by BW?

Thank you for providing Phil Spencer's No. I will call him, but I do think a proper explanation of these matters is one of public interest and not just private discussion.

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Miles