SEA cadet chiefs claim they have been left high and dry without a lease after being moved away from their historic site on the waterfront of Greenock.

Jim Hearl, lieutenant commander of Inverclyde and District Corps, told the Telegraph the group cannot apply for funding to help establish a planned new home as a result of being left in legal limbo.

The cadets have had a presence at the Great Harbour since 1943 and the organisation dates back to before World War 2.

But leaders say the youth organisation has been caught in a red tape wrangle with landowners James Watt Dock LLP that has lasted for years and prevented them from accessing finance.

Jim said: "In February 2016 we were told we had to relocate within the James Watt Dock area, and we prepared for the move in June that year.

"The transfer date was February 2017. Another company was served the same notice, so we could move across to their site, and it took them five years.

"They eventually moved in February 2022 and a lease was to be signed for us to have the land for 125 years.

"On three occasions we have signed a lease, the last one in November, and three times James Watt Dock LLP never signed the lease, kicking the ball down the road.

"This ongoing situation leaves us in a precarious position, as the funding that was available earlier in 2017 is no longer available due to changes in criteria.

"Many funders have been putting us on hold due to having no lease.

"Our very meagre funds are all but exhausted."


When the Tele contacted the landowners they told us they expected the delayed agreement to be concluded shortly.

They also said that the deal would enable the youth group to stay on their new site without paying any rent,

A representative from James Watt Dock LLP said: "Legal matters have taken longer than anticipated on both sides, however this process should be completed within a couple of weeks.

“The lease arrangement will secure the group’s presence at James Watt Dock for a significant period, providing the Cadets the opportunity to create a suitable new facility.

“The proposed long ground lease would give the group continued access to the land without paying rent, which represents a significant investment by the landowners - James Watt Dock LLP.

"This represents a continued long-term commitment to support the Sea Cadets and their activities.”