Harbour finances make grim reading

By Chris Cornford Jan 4, 2021

The finances of some of the Isle of Wight’s harbours have been drastically hit by Covid-19. With fewer visitors, the loss of berthing income and lockdown to contend with, harbours controlled by the Isle of Wight Council are looking at a forecasted overspend in their annual budget of £119,134.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s harbour committee, Alex Minns, assistant neighbourhoods director, said the two main income-generating harbours, Newport and Ryde, had seen a substantial loss of income from berthing (which was to be expected). In total, a budget overspend of £69,837 is predicted with nearly £41,500 being lost from a loss of service down the River Medina at the Folly berths.

An overspend at Newport Harbour of £16,304 for supplies and services was down to legal fees, Mr Minns said, as the council try to push through the Harbour Revision Order with the Marine Management Organisation which has taken over a year to determine.

The loss of tourists has meant the income budgeted for Ryde Harbour this financial year has seen a downturn of £26,857 from moorings alone. Altogether, an overspend of £32,371 is forecasted for the harbour.

At Ventnor Harbour, £15, 231 of the £16,926 total overspend was caused by a higher than expected cost of seaweed removal. Mr Minns said work was ongoing to try and bring down the contract cost.

Questioning whether the forecasts were accurate, Cllr Brian Tyndall, now the council’s cabinet member for corporate resources, said the finances were ‘grim and getting grimmer’ when it was confirmed.

Mr Minns said the main loss was over the summer when there were fewer visitors so the financial predictions were ‘fairly accurate’ and done each month to provide the most up-to-date picture.