Sale of the aggregates yard along with the SHA’s extraction rights
Has £66,000 a year been taken away from the Harbour by Mr and Mrs Thorpes other company BIL?
As you know, the aggregates yard and extraction rights recently changed hands from BIL to JMC Ag Ltd for £900,000.
Some may wonder why a contractor would pay to so much for the opportunity to extract aggregates from the Bembridge Harbour approach channel. It is because profits can be made from the sale of the valuable aggregates they remove. This contrasts with the expensive task of removing the unsaleable silts from within the harbour.
Generally speaking, profitable opportunities to win aggregates change hands for significant sums, for instance quarries are valuable. But this particular opportunity gives an extra market edge. The contractors save £2 per tonne in Aggregates Levy.
HMRC on Aggregates Levy :“aggregate that is the result of dredging rivers, canals, watercourses or approaches to ports or harbours when this is exclusively to improve or maintain them” is exempt from the UK Aggregates Levy of £2 per tonne.
Thanks to the use of SHA’s Statutory Powers to extract under the ’63 Harbour Act the contractor avoids this levy. This levy saving element alone is worth an estimated £66,000 pa plus.
At the scale of this operation, this could represent a saving of around £ 66,000 to £79,000 a year. These figures are based on the days allowed in the planning consent and the reported 250 to 300 tonnes per tide removed. On days that two tides worked the figure may be doubled. Those with a financial background will soon calculate the capital value of that saving alone, over the 20 years, is up around £900,000.
This huge saving against normal aggregate extraction, which is subject to the levy, is just one element of value of the SHA’s grant of rights that it has not been paid for. With all that value instead going to BIL.
This goes to reinforce the advice we have that at least £650,000 of the £900,000 paid to BIL should have gone to the SHA.
What does the SHA say? After our attempts to engage with Mr and Mrs Thorpe to seek rectification, Mr Thorpe wrote on 23.01.23 saying, “I see no reason to continue this dialogue”.
The Trustees have had to conclude that Mr and Mrs Thorpe will not act to put matters right without pressure from the Authorities.
Judicial Review against the SHA
The final hearing is fixed for 23rd June and final submissions by BHT’s team are in hand. We will advise where we can, and regret not being able to share more with you, but must be wary of doing anything that might be seen to prejudice the case.
The area at the Point adjacent to the defunct groyne is eroding fast. As it does the material washes into the Harbour, along with other materials in the long shore drift. Once inside the harbour it is expensive to remove and, such mitigation as there is, falls largely on Bembridge Sailing Club.
Improvements would come in the shape of a groyne! Dr Paul Tosswell, the SHA’s own adviser was quoted in the February 22 BHAG minutes: “ PT’s view on a refurbished groyne is that over a short period of time, sand would overtop it, the build-up from which could then be removed by the contractor” A win win for all concerned .
Help us where you can , funding is always needed .
Chris Attrill, Jonathan Bacon, William Bland , Jeremy Gully (chair), Phil Jordan, Norman Marshall, Sara Smith, as Trustees
For and on behalf of
Bembridge Harbour Trust
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