Mayor reconsiders Avonmouth and Portbury Docks freehold

Bristol Port Company Image copyright Neil Edbrooke
Image caption Bristol Port Company covers 2,600 acres and employs more than 600 people

Bristol's mayor says he will reconsider selling the freehold of a docks complex after councillors' opposition.

George Ferguson had previously approved the £10m Avonmouth and Portbury Docks deal with First Corporate Shipping.

Following a "call-in" of that decision, council members voted by 41 to 16 to object to his plan.

Those against argued the council's long-term investment would make way for a "short-term advantage" and that the freehold was worth more than £10m.

Mr Ferguson told the debate it was not a case of "letting the family silver go" but how it was reinvested.

The council currently holds a 12.5% share in the ports.


Labour's Helen Holland criticised the proposal, saying there was "great frustration" at the lack of information about the sale.

Conservative councillor, Peter Abraham said city had received some £68m income from the port since it was sold in 1991.

And Liberal Democrat Gary Hopkins said the council should be thinking about the "long-term interest" of keeping the share "and not a smash-and-grab".

The Green Party's Charlie Bolton said while the Greens supported the port, he objected to the sale of even the freehold as it was a "community asset".

"The council's job as trustees should be to manage that land and not to sell it," he said.

"Once it is gone it's gone for ever."

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