Bembridge redevelopment to go ahead

Bembridge Harbour Benbridge Harbour Trust opposed plans for development at the harbour

Developments at Bembridge Harbour, Isle of Wight are set to go ahead with the finalisation of the S106 planning agreement this month.

The plans by Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company Limited, which include harbour facilities, toilets, showers and houses in the area, had been met with opposition from Benbridge Harbour Trust (BHT), who stated the harbour would see limited benefits and the houses would spill over into countryside. However, the Isle of Wight (IOW) Council planning committee gave the plans the go-ahead last month.

Malcom Thorpe, co-owner of Benbridge Harbour Improvements, said: “We are extremely pleased to achieve a full endorsement to the previous approval for our regeneration plans by the IOW Council…”

He added: “We anticipate that the S106 Planning Agreement will be finalised early in the New Year - with some slight revision to the presently agreed draft document - that will allow us to move our development plans forward.”

Redevelopment since 2011

Mr Thorpe stated that since purchasing the harbour in 2011, Benbridge Harbour Improvements has made dredging and pontoon replacements and put a safety management system in place.

He stressed that the harbour does need further investment to compete with other marinas and harbours around the Solent and that the original planning application, submitted in 2014, included an obligation that any excess profit would be reinvested back into the harbour.

During the past 20 months, all aspects raised by BHT have been reconsidered by the IOW Council in consultation with a QC planning barrister, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the government's District Valuation Service, said Mr Thorpe.

He added: “We totally and fully support a democratic planning process which allows for scrutiny and demands accountability. Unfortunately, BHT have chosen to continuously and consistently misrepresent and undermine the Harbour management, continuing to promote misinformed financial claims after they have been comprehensively disproved, in order to create and foster mistrust and suspicion.”

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