Member update and IW County Press
Dear BHT members ,
Some of you may have seen a letter, critical of BHT’s efforts, in the Isle of Wight County Press. This seemed ill informed. It does, however, give us the opportunity to publish the facts in response and simultaneously bring you up to speed with the sorry position on the residential planning application were we continue to press hard for a reasoned decision and/or at least some real benefit for the Harbour being secured in the planning legal agreement (s106).
Jeremy Gully as Chair Bembridge Harbour Trust
“Dear Editor, Re: IWCP letters 05.10.2018
Messers Jefferies, Lymn, Bridger, Gray, Offer and Rolf’s hearts are clearly in the right place, however we wonder where their information comes from as it is not reflected in the facts in the public planning files.
Though Mr Thorpe has stated that the regeneration will deliver significant benefit for the Harbour itself, factual analysis of the planning files, and draft planning agreement, sees a separate Property Company make all the predicted profits of £1.2m. i.e. not the Harbour Company.
For the Property Company to realise this profit the separate Harbour Company is made to buy or lease the new facilities from the Property Company at high levels, increasing its running costs and/or its debts dramatically.
Mr Thorpe advises the planners that predicted profits are not expected to be invested in the Harbour, nor reduce the burden of the Harbour Company’s already large intercompany debts, questionably built into the original purchase deal at £1.
Meanwhile, the Harbour itself faces potential economic and operational harm by reduction in overall parking, visitor entertainment space, access and dramatic increase in costs. That is why some 300 objected to this application in the first place.
For clarity, the planning agreement and Houseboat LDC do not include any legal undertaking ensuring any reinvestment of predicted cash profits, nor any obligation to invest in sewage plant.
We can’t imagine planning committee members intended to sanction major breaches of planning policy, based solely on the absolute necessity of profits from houses to pay for facilities, when the Harbour Company now claim it can both afford them and will ending up paying for them anyway.
Nor do we think the public imagined that none of the cash profits predicted would be applied to the Harbour’s fundamental and urgent wants of dredging and repair.
Bembridge Harbour Trust is a charitable organisation duty bound to act on professional, evidence-backed advice in the interests of the Harbour. If we could see an overall benefit for the Harbour, this Trust might take a different view.
This is why we continue to press for a s106 planning legal agreement to deliver real benefit that, currently, is not secured.
We urge the above gentlemen to refer to our website www.bembridgeharbourtrust.org where they can fact check the points raised in our short FAQ videos, and would be pleased to meet these correspondents to answer any further questions.
Jeremy Gully, Felix Hetherington, Sara Smith, John Raymond, Chris Attrill and Michael MacInnes as the trustees.”