Dear BHT members, supporters and friends,
Mr and Mrs Thorpe’s widely circulated Bembridge Harbour Authority (BHA) Statement on the Bembridge Groyne Project is a long document (click here to read it) which we take the liberty of summarising as follows:
BHA have reservations about the usefulness of repairing the groyne. We will support this project, but only when we are able to make the improvements to the harbour offices, car parks and visitor facilities needed to secure approval for our harbour property development. We can’t go ahead with these however because Bembridge Harbour Trust continually block the project and tell lies about us – for example that our relationship with Nigel Bennett had broken down.
Readers must always remember: there is no such entity as Bembridge Harbour Authority. There is a property company (Bembridge Investments Ltd – BIL) which itself predicts in the planning application that it will keep all the cash thus generated; and there is the Cinderella in this fairy story, the Statutory Harbour Authority (Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company Ltd – BHIC), which is a quasi public body and has a statutory duty to manage the harbour in the public interest. As you might expect, the interests of these two entities are in conflict; in particular there is no connection between the housing scheme and the groyne. The approach to repairing the groyne attributed to the Statutory Harbour Authority in Mr and Mrs Thorpe’s statement does not appear to be in the interests of the harbour, as we explain in this short video.(click here to see it)
Our statements about the relationship between the Thorpes and Nigel Bennett are based on a detailed and authoritative written record of a conversation with Nigel Bennett, and we stand by them. The far more important issue however is that without the Bennetts’ activities an additional 300 to 600 lorry loads (‘Bennetts’) per year of sand is now entering the harbour, substantially worsening an already frighteningly accelerating rate of siltation. We comprehensively reject the other criticisms and assertions in this document, as the earlier video explains, and in a second video we make this plea to the Thorpes as directors of the Statutory Harbour Authority to say what their plans are for the future of the Harbour generally, and specifically how to save the harbour from silting up before our eyes.
Over the years Bembridge Harbour Trust have proposed both equitable planning solutions and practical ways for the Thorpes to provide financial transparency without compromising commercial confidentiality. Instead of quietly resolving these questions, the Thorpes have preferred to make loud public attacks aimed at silencing anyone (not just BHT) who wishes to raise legitimate concerns. We ask the Thorpes, in their capacity as directors of the Statutory Harbour Authority, legally bound to protect its interests, to answer these three simple questions:
- Instead of building new facilities, we estimate you could achieve the same result (as good as new) by refurbishing and extending the existing facilities – for about a third of the cost. Why do you need to build any new houses at all to do this?
- Once the new facilities have been built, the harbour will be forced to rent them at commercial rates from your property company. If it can afford to do this, why do you need to build new houses at all?
- When will you produce a harbour management plan, as is best practice, so the community can understand how you are hoping to ensure the harbour will remain viable in future.
Best Regards, the Trustees
PS. The letter we mentioned in our last update has now been published ( 26th June) under the IWCP’s own but insightful heading “Mixing up authority with property company”
Jeremy Gully (chair), Felix Hetherington (secretary), John Raymond, Chris Attrill, Sara Smith, Norman Marshall, Jonathan Bacon, William Bland ( co-opted) as Trustees
For and on behalf of
Bembridge Harbour Trust