Houseboat planning update and important dates
Houseboat LDC Decision notice issued
At long last, a positive outcome on the Lawful Development Certificate that, without BHT’s vigilance and persistence over the last 2.5 years, could potentially have seen an unlimited number of houseboats on a very wide area, even beyond the application site, into the body of the harbour where there have never been houseboats.
We are pleased to announce a decision notice has been issued that reflects the actual number (25) of houseboat sites in the harbour occupied for at least ten years. The officer’s report confirms the rest of the Harbour land is suitable for short term mooring of navigable vessels and not long-term houseboats, at least, without further planning permission. This is consistent with our advice all along, that this was the only lawful conclusion possible.
The planning officer’s exhaustive written justification confirms BHT’s review of corrispondance ; that Mr Thorpe had been seeking to persuade the Planners that no planning consent was required for houseboats on the Harbour’s land, via a submission that may on the surface have appeared to be solely about the ratification of the 25 qualifying houseboat sites (it was not) with a further application likely being made if more houseboats were brought in (not necessarily). Indeed, the officer makes it clear that harbour authority sought to persuade the Planners that the ’63 Bembridge Harbour Act overrides planning legislation, in which case future houseboat sites would not have required planning consent.
It should also be noted there was no undertaking in this application for any reinvestment, either into the promised sewage plan, or other the harbour improvements. Indeed Mr Thorpe has stated that a large proportion of any income from future houseboat plot sales would be removed from the Harbour Company.
The trustees would like to thank members for your continued support, without which this long and very worthwhile battle would not have been possible.
We extend special thanks to our planning/legal adviser, Oliver Goodwin of Keystone Law for helping, at some personal cost, to counter a false planning approach and achieve a lawful resolution, whilst protecting the Harbour from potential over development.
Links to the planning documents :
Important dates for your diary
1. Public Meeting: ‘The future of Bembridge Harbour’
28th November 2018 , 7.00pm, Village Hall
A public meeting has been independently arranged by a concerned local resident, Sir Paul Kenny.
We understand that The Harbour Company, representatives of the GMB Union, MP Bob Seely and Councillors are among those invited. BHT has been asked to sit on the panel. We are told that a leaflet with full information is currently in production and we will circulate this to members at the earliest opportunity.
We urge members to attend and raise questions such as:
Why there is still no public management plan to address topics like :
The increasing siltation and lack of dredging.
The need to repair the Groyne.
Maintenance of Marina infrastructure.
Compliance with Government Guidance on transparency and accountability, so that income and costs, effecting the ability to fund much needed maintenance and repairs, can be understood by the community.
2. BHT Annual General Meeting
14th December 2018, 6.30pm, Bembridge Sailing Club
With so much going on, its particularly important that members attend this year’s AGM to ensure your point of view is aired and information shared. It has been timed early so that members can attend and still enjoy their evening with plenty to talk about. Formal notice, reports and accounts to follow shortly.
For and on behalf of
Bembridge Harbour Trust