BASHHA Committee has considered the proposals very carefully, and decided that they should be opposed. We do appreciate that Malcolm Thorpe wants to generate funds for improvements to Harbour facilities, but we also have to consider that none of the improvements actually benefits the community as a whole, or local (as opposed to visiting) Harbour users, or the environment.
The Sentinel Special Issue 49A is almost entirely about the proposed building works. We begin with a summary of the proposals based on notes taken by Mike Samuelson and by me from Malcolm Thorpe's presentation to a joint meeting of BASHHA, BHUG and Brading Haven Yacht Club on 6 May.
We then go on to a full version of BASHHA Committee's objections giving the reasons for each objection. We shall submit these to IWC when consultation opens, but meanwhile we hope they may be helpful to members wishing to comment in the consultation.
We will try to notify all members as soon as IWC publishes a planning application. If you aren't already a BASHHA member, you might like to join us here. It only costs £5 !
The draft maps looked encouraging re. the protection of Bembridge Harbour, Embankment Rd. and the Duver Wall. However, as we know, swingeing financial cuts are being made by central and local Government, so we maintained vigilence and recorded our concerns.
The final plan is now at www.coastalwight.gov.uk/smp. Bembridge is in section PDZ3. Public comments are detailed with corresponding responses from the SMP Steering Group.
At Foreland residents have been appalled at the waste of money spent on the only currently permitted ineffective coastal protection below Bembridge Coast Hotel. Periodically shingle is deposited in front of the cliff and coastal drift then moves the shingle along until it reaches the Harbour.
Regrettably, no change is recommended; the only concession is that IWC will meet the Consultants acting on behalf of the Hotel to discuss the findings of their Monitoring plan.
At Bembridge Point, for years, experienced individuals and organisations have maintained that the damaged Bembridge groyne is allowing sand and shingle to enter the harbour where it contributes to the problem of silting. Full repair has been urged.
The SMP team comment that "No public funding is available but SMP Steering Group including IWC, EA and NE would not object to private funding to repair and maintain the groyne in theory. Section 3.3 of Ch.4.4 has been amended to make this clear".
We welcome this positive change, a reward for all the efforts made during the EYS and SMP2 consultations. Money still has to be found, but hurdles have been removed!
BASHHA has always supported the need for adequate coastal defence for the Harbour, and in 2001 strongly objected to the Managed Retreat proposal for the Duver in the North East Coastal Defence Strategy. Strong local opposition led to the IWC approving a temporary change to Hold the Line for 5 years, pending a major research project.
A joint IWC and Environment Agency (EA) study, the Eastern Yar Strategy, was finally started in 2006. It investigated in depth the issues facing the Yar Valley from Sandown to Bembridge Harbour regarding flood protection and coastal defence.
We have been a member of the St Helens and Bembridge Coastal and Harbour Working Group (WG) since 2001. WG has been active on behalf of our local communities since 2001 when the last SMP was produced. The group’s determination and hard work succeeded in making EA and IWC more aware of the importance of Bembridge Harbour and the vital issues associated with its protection. EA have stated they will be influenced by the final recommendations of the EYS Report.
There is a statutory obligation to maintain Embankment Road as the Brading Marshes Nature Reserve benefits from European habitat protection legislation. The WG was a consultee to the Strategy and keenly promoted local interest to protect the Duver, Duver Wall and groynes to ensure the Harbour remained a safe haven for boats. Public Consultation took place on the final Draft Report and results are now firm.
Embankment Road will be defended for the next 100 years and (owing to an old but extant conveyancing requirement) the Duver Wall will be maintained for 50 years by IWC.
In 2006 Bembridge Harbour Improvement Company introduced for the first time Harbour Dues, a legal entitlement, which was a shock for Harbour users. BASHHA submitted an Objection to the Secretary of State for Transport at the level of Harbour Dues being charged. Owing to lack of a decision by the Sec. of State our Objection was repeated in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Since 2007 BHUG has carried out the conduct of the Objection on our behalf.
The protracted delay in the Secretary of State making a decision was exceedingly frustrating. Finally, a Public Inquiry was held at Bembridge Sailing Club on January 19th/20th 2010 to determine the outcome. A considerable sum was donated by individuals, Clubs, businesses and organisations towards the cost of legal support and advice to BHUG for which we are extremely grateful. The legal representation at the Public Inquiry was impressive and the BHUG case forcefully made. We were hopeful of a positive result. The Inspector's Report to the Secretary of State was submitted, but his Decision was not received until mid October.
The Inspector's Report was very critical of many aspects of the Harbour Company, but decided after making various amendments to calculations, the Harbour Dues were not unreasonable. The Appeal was dismissed. This was a very disappointing result especially after all the hard work undertaken to oppose the level of Harbour Dues.
We monitor all Planning Applications and respond to any that are likely to have detrimental consequences on the Harbour and its environs.
For example, in March, 2009 we submitted a cogent objection to Bembridge Harbour Improvement Company's plan to build a 5 storey Hotel on the Bembridge Marina site which would have been totally out of keeping with the area and posed serious potential problems of pollution. We presented a convincing case on behalf of BASHHA, BHUG and several environmental organisations at the IWC Planning Committee. We were delighted that the plan was robustly refused on four major grounds.