A simmering row over the future of Bembridge Harbour has come to a head following an announcement by Bembridge Harbour Users Group (BHUG) that they have abandoned plans to repair the groyne at the harbour entrance. The group claim the work would have reduced siltation and say the decision is the result of 15 months of delay by the Bembridge Harbour Authority (BHA), and could not be delayed any longer, as the team of volunteers at the heart of the project were no longer available.
The project was to have been funded by around £250,000 to be raised by BHUG with management of the contract undertaken by BHA.
However Malcolm Thorpe, speaking for the BHA, said that a regeneration project to provide new facilities at Duver Marina and Bembridge Marina, funded by 13 new houses overlooking the harbour, was of equal importance and would enable the harbour to compete with other harbours and marinas in the Solent. He said the development had been stalled by opposition from the Bembridge Harbour Trust (BHT) and that ‘trustees of BHT, including its chairman, also sit on the BHUG committee that has just shelved the groyne project’, and accused the trust of promoting misinformation and misrepresenting facts.
He added: “The cost to BHA in dealing with all the various claims made by BHT is actually well in excess of the anticipated cost of repairing the groyne.
“We have made our views very public and believe that the groyne project and the admin complex and facilities are of equal importance to the Harbour’s future viability, and hence remain in full support of a community initiative to repair the groyne.”
Michael Toulmin, Chairman of BHUG, said: “It is a great pity that there can’t be co-operation
between the owners of the harbour and the local community who have invested hundreds of hours making preparation for the repair work.”.