Bembridge, Red Funnel and the Coast Path

At the June SPS Council meeting, the Isle of Wight representative reported on Woodside Bay, namely the development next to it.  SPS had objected to the unlawful certificate which had been applied for.  No decision yet made.

Bembridge Harbour had produced a final Section 106 Agreement.

Red Funnel had applied for Planning Permission for the new commercial ferry and ground investigation had started.

The Coastal Path consultation would not be published until the end of 2018.

Bembridge planning. The SPS response

 

These comments have been submitted in response to the revised application under  TCP/11822/Y-P/00637/14. The comments are from the Solent Protection Society (SPS) which exists to protect the Solent for future generations. We have already commented on the earlier 3 applications and where still relevant the same points are repeated below, modified when appropriate by the information in the revised application.

Harbour wide Issues 

This is an Outline application which, we understand, only seeks approval for Landscaping and Layout with Access, Appearance and Scale left as Reserved Matters.

Given the sensitivity of the Harbour and its conservation designations this should have been a Full application not an Outline one.  There are no landscape details other than a broad description and this is inadequate for an approval of this aspect. Some information related to Access, Appearance and Scale is given and we will comment on the information presented as we consider that the aspect of Scale in particular is highly relevant in this location and that the views from the sea and across the harbour are vital considerations.

Any approval given to Layout must in the view of SPS make clear that any significant variation from the drawings finally submitted at Outline stage concerning Appearance and Scale will require a full application not an application for approval of Reserved Matters.

  • Access. It is understood that no access points are significantly changing but we would hope that Highways advice will form part of the Outline evaluation as this could result in loss of important landscape features for which mitigation will be required.
  • Appearance. SPS would expect to see more detail on this and more information about the appearance in the wider context, but the proposed materials and architectural form, subject to the comments below, would seem appropriate at this stage. SPS would expect a high standard of design to be a condition of the Outline approval.
  • Scale. This is a significant aspect of the impact on the wider landscape and the view from the Solent. The introduction of 3 storey high blocks of terraced housing at both Bembridge Marina and Duver Marina are significant matters of scale and there is insufficient information in the form of say photomontages to judge the impact in the overall context of the harbour.
  • Landscaping. There is inadequate drawn information and this would be difficult to provide without the detailed building and site proposals. SPS do not consider that Landscaping should be included in any approval but should be subject to the same conditions as suggested for the other Reserved Matters and tied to the requirements set out in the Ecology report.
  • Layout. SPS considers that the proposed footprints and uses on each site are broadly appropriate subject to the detailed comments below on a site by site basis. There should only be minor alterations in any Reserved Matters application such that they  do not change the proposed scale, massing and location of the proposed buildings (if approved) as the sensitivity of these  are critical  to the overall appearance and ambiance of the harbour.
  1. Overall. All these areas of the harbour need reinvestment if they are not to fall into further decline and SPS recognise that the investment has to be supported by some form of commercial return unless a philanthropist comes along. In principal SPS are not opposed to the areas selected being redeveloped in some form. In the overall context of the harbour they do not represent a significant area of land or a large scheme, even taken collectively but SPS does have some reservations in detail which are set out on a site by site basis below.

 

  1. 3. Flooding. This is a significant factor with depths up to 1.4m predicted. The applicant has proposed measures to flood proof the individual properties but has not solved the problem of access in the case of a flood for emergency vehicles, evacuation etc. The EAs position in the past has, SPS understands, been to resist any form of new residential development in Flood Zone 3 unless there is safe and dry access in and out, which as far as SPS can see is not the case here. The applicant is relying on early flood warning and evacuation before the flooding occurs. This has not been accepted by the EA in the past for new build residential and to do so now would set a precedent which would, if granted, need to be clearly circumscribed.    More residential development increases the risk of future problems for the emergency services and may well lead to a demand for further flood defences which could well have a significant impact on the shoreline particularly at the Duver Marina. This is therefore a serious concern for SPS. We note that the EA has yet to comment on this aspect of the application.

 

  1. 4. Protected Areas. The areas proposed are already under development and so the proposals are unlikely to have a significant impact on the adjoining protected areas provided the mitigation measures in the ecology report can be maintained. However buildings such as the old boathouse are little used and so more intensive use may have an impact on the adjoining water area. The area is a sensitive site within SEMS, and the lagoons hold species listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. (Starlet Sea Anemone)”. SPS welcomes the additional ecology information which is well presented and supports the idea of the silt pond as additional mitigation which will enhance the mosaic of habitats and SSSIs in the vicinity of Bembridge Harbour. SPS also welcomes the proposals to reduce light pollution as much as possible and will look at this more carefully when the reserved matters are considered.

 

  1. Timing. It is important that improvements are developed in advance of or in parallel with the residential development. SPS would expect to see suitable conditions to ensure dwellings are not occupied until agreed improvements have been completed.

Site Specific Issues

1 Site 1. Duver Marina.

  • There are no views from the sea or harbour illustrated and this should be sought from the applicant so that a proper assessment of the impact on the Solent and its tidal rivers can be assessed.
  • Subject to seeing this, SPS is concerned that the 3 storey terrace block  of housing in its proposed form will be over dominant  and detrimental to the appearance of what is at present a somewhat disjointed but picturesque collection of smaller scale buildings. While some effort has been made in the revised application to articulate the skyline and reduce the impact of the gable walls beside each terrace, in the view of SPS this is not sufficient and the skyline needs to be broken by at least one if not two of the units being limited to 2 story. This may reduce the number of units by one.
  • SPS supports the need to try and maintain local small scale marine industry and is concerned that if further residential development is permitted at The Duver it will give rise to conflict with boat repair and overwintering activity leading to further loss of marine facilities.
  • The proposal to base the harbour office here and rebuild it is supported
  • The proposal to build residential property increasing the risk from flooding with inadequate evacuation will create a demand for further flood defence and is therefore not supported unless a satisfactory means of evacuation is devised such as raising the Duver access road.
  • The proposal to improve the sewerage arrangements and other marine facilities is supported.

2 Site 2. Bembridge Marina.

  • The proposals are generally at the far end of the harbour and adjoin the main residential areas so there is no objection in principal to some development in this location.
  • The intensity of development, however, results in very limited external space around the buildings particularly the block of 5 and could result in a slab like appearance at the end of the harbour when viewed from a distance. The scale and form could therefore be more varied. Again a view from the harbour in context would be helpful to see the scale and massing before a final decision is taken. A photomontage of the proposed outline should be sought and made available to objectors. No effort has been made in the revised application to address this point so we would suggest that gable walls on each side of terraces are reduced on these blocks too and that at least one or two units in the centre are reduced to two stories. This may mean a reduction of one unit overall. The somewhat mediocre architecture of former housing around the harbour should not be taken as a precedent to follow.
  • There remains a concern about flooding, however, there are more defences at this point and the increase in units relative to existing housing is less significant. It will be a balance between EA advice and other considerations as to whether the increased risk for evacuation is justified.
  • The floating shower and toilet facility will add to the apparent density at the end of the harbour but is not considered significant from an SPS point of view.
  1. Site 3. Selwyn Boat Yard and Old boathouse.
  • The proposal to create 6 small single storey light industrial units is reasonable and SPS have no objection to the proposal in principal as they will have a minimal visual impact on the Solent. We note there is now no turning area at the end which may give rise to some practical problems.
  • These units are not considered high risk from a flooding point of view but could lead to a demand for increased flood defence from occupiers which SPS imagines could impact on the banking particularly on the SE side. The ambiance and visual character of the landscape banking should not be jeopardized and should be conditioned accordingly.
  • The Proposed house is isolated and so the flood risk issue for evacuation is more significant here. The overall detail is even vaguer for this building and it will stand out above the houseboats, we think, though no sections are provided. It has been kept long and low and only 2 storey and it has trees either side but it would have to be an exceptional piece of architecture to justify a property visually here, particularly as Natural England’s conditions may mean it moving further up the slope. As it is only a single property there is more chance of an evacuation plan being effective provided the use of the house is limited to owner occupation only, but we remain concerned that any new flood defences will change adversely the quiet, natural serenity of this area.
  • There is insufficient detail to grant an Outline approval in such a sensitive location in the view of SPS. This house should be subject to a full application and perhaps a split decision should be given on the application, if Outline approval is to be granted to the industrial units, with a refusal for the house due, as a minimum, to lack of information. It would be wrong in our view to establish the principal of residential development on this site without full details including detailed ecological impacts and mitigation, if not an EIA, once foundation details are known.
  • We note that the applicant states that development of the industrial units is dependent on the grant of planning approval for the house. In the view of SPS specific harbour improvements should not be tied to specific sites gaining residential approval. We are not party to the detail of the business plan but as this is now rightly a single application, the income generating development and the improvements should be viewed in the round across all sites.
  • SPS is concerned that the mitigation plan and the CEMP may not be properly monitored considering the lack of ecologically trained personal in the E Wight. A contribution to the cost of monitoring could be a condition of approval.
  • The ecological report regards the scrub composition to be removed to make the carpark at Bembridge Marina as “not unusual”. This is true, but since the RSPB have recently removed so much scrub and trees from the Brading Marsh, low level cover for birds and mammals of this type is not as common in the immediate surroundings as it was previously.   Care should be taken therefore not to suburbanise the carpark, and that the current species mix should be retained around it.
  • SPS is concerned that the public access along the old railway track is maintained in the future.

Bembridge Harbour Trust to renew bid

Posted on 07 May 2011

Bembridge Harbour Trust                            News Release 26 April, 2011
Bembridge Harbour Trust to renew bid for Bembridge Harbour.
Following the collapse of the two companies that operate Bembridge harbour into administration, Bembridge Harbour Trust will renew its attempts to buy the harbour and associated properties.
This was announced by the chairman of the Trustees, Michael MacInnes, following funding meetings in Bembridge over the Easter weekend.
Meanwhile the harbour is continuing to be operated as a going concern by the administrators who are expected to package the two companies into one for sale shortly.
The Trust, a charity, was formed nearly four years ago by concerned local residents who feared that the future of the harbour was threatened by years of neglect and poor maintenance.
The Trust’s principal aim is to buy the harbour, restore it and to ensure its ownership in perpetuity for the benefit of the local communities and users of the harbour.
Last year, the Trust made three bids for the harbour, having taken professional advice on the valuation of the harbour and its properties, but these were rejected as too low by the then owner.
“We now have a marvellous opportunity finally to buy the harbour and, if we are successful, put right years of neglect that threaten the future of the harbour as a ‘working’ harbour for sailors, fishermen and marine businesses alike”, said Mr. MacInnes. “We are ready to take on this responsibility for the benefit of everybody who enjoys the harbour for its sailing, wild life, angling, walking or as one of the Isle of Wight’s major tourist and recreational amenities”.
Mr MacInnes said that the new owner of the harbour would have to spend immediately in the region of £1/2m dredging the harbour as this had not been done for eight years and water levels were very low in places. Other urgent remedial work would have to be carried out on the pontoons, the quay walls and visiting sailors’ amenities; all at considerable cost.
Mr MacInnes and Mr Chris Attrill have already had a preliminary meeting with the administrators and advised them of the Trust wish to bid.
The Trust has over 170 founder members drawn mainly from residents in Bembridge, St. Helens, Brading and Seaview and has four distinguished patrons, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, Lord Brabazon of Tara, Peter Nicholson CBE and Maldwin Drummonds OBE as well as an advisory board representing many local business and social interests.

“With our members and advisers, we also have wide commercial support through the local communities who have the skills and expertise so we can get the harbour up and running properly again – if we get the chance to buy it,” said Mr. MacInnes.<br> Further information:<br> Michael MacInnes, chairman Bembridge Harbour Trust: tel.: 018983 872108 or email: <a href=”mailto:michael.macinnes@btinternet.com” data-mce-href=”mailto:michael.macinnes@btinternet.com”>michael.macinnes@btinternet.com</a><br> Donald Biddle, trustee, Bembridge Harbour Trust: Tel.: 01983 875561 or email: <a href=”mailto:dfbiddle@gmail.com” data-mce-href=”mailto:dfbiddle@gmail.com”>dfbiddle@gmail.com</a><br> Note. Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company and Maritime and Leisure Investments Limited were placed in administration on 13 April following a winding up petition by HM Customs and Revenue.<br> Bembridge Harbour Trust is a registered charity, number 1120225 and is also a company limited by guarantee under company number 05671595.

Bembridge Harbour Trust T: 01983 872319 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01983 872319 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting E: jill.attrill@bembridgeharbourtrust.org

Latest Bembridge Harbour Report

Posted on 01 Nov 2010

Since we last reported, Bembridge Harbour Trust (BHT) has been working hard to try and purchase Bembridge Harbour, unfortunately so far without success. BHT, a registered charity, of which SPS is a founder member, was set up to buy Bembridge Harbour should the opportunity arise and to hold it in perpetuity for the benefit of the local communities. It is supported strongly by the local community. The Harbour was placed on the market by its owner, the Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company, earlier in the year. Since then the Trustees of BHT have made three offers, all of which have been turned down because they were “too low”. This has been frustrating for the Trustees because, apart from the first bid, the subsequent offers, which have included not only the harbour itself but certain sites around the harbour, have been at the invitation of the selling agents. As reported at the AGM of the Trust held in August, the Chairman Donald Biddle said that the size of the bids had been supported by independent professional valuations, so are certainly realistic. However, he said that a major consideration, and one that was most difficult to put a figure on, is the significant extra cost of around £750,000 which is required for works to put right years of neglect. In particular, this refers to dredging, which had not taken place for very many years, and some pontoon repair work, both of which are now becoming seriously urgent. The Trust continues to seek ways to break the stale-mate with the vendor. If anybody would like a copy of the Trusts’ Annual Report or would like to know about individual membership opportunities, which are always welcome, or feel that they might be able to help the Trustees in any way, please contact Trustee, Michael MacInnes on michael.macinnes@btinternet.com Michael MacInnes For Bembridge Harbour Trust – October 2010

Bembridge Harbour Important developments

Posted on 01 Feb 2010

Bembridge Harbour Important developments

The Department for Transport has confirmed that it will be conducting a public inquiry in January into the level of harbour dues being levied by the Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company Limited over the last four years, following appeals by harbour users. It is understood this will be the first such appeal to be carried out by the DfT and the users and managers of other harbours will be watching the conduct and result of the inquiry with great interest. The Environment Agency has now published its Eastern Yar draft coastal flood and erosion risk management strategy, in which it suggests that rising sea levels over the next 100 years will leave 730 homes and businesses at risk in the Bembridge and St Helens area alone.

The draft strategy recommends that the Bembridge Embankment Road, Brading Marshes and the majority of properties at risk should have improved protection from coastal flooding. The paper acknowledges that the St Helens Duver Wall (see photograph), which is in a very poor state and if breached would flood the St Helens Duver, is particularly vulnerable making vital the IOW Council’s proposal to maintain it for the next 50 years. However, EA’s recommendation to “do nothing but monitor” the groyne at Bembridge Point which they admit is also in a “very poor state of repair” and “is regularly submerged” is a mystery to Bembridge Harbour users. This negative policy will be seriously questioned during the consultation process as the groyne would appear to form an important protection to the entrance to Bembridge Harbour.

Exhibitions and consultations on the EA’s draft strategy will be taking place on this most important issue over the next few months. All these events are being closely monitored by the Bembridge Harbour Trust, a body that obtained charitable status in July 2007. The main objectives of this charity are to: • preserve and enhance Bembridge Harbour, it’s approaches and setting for the benefit of the public including the users of the harbour and the communities of Bembridge and St Helens on the Isle of Wight; and purchase the harbour from the current owner should the opportunity arise. BHT is a member of SPS.

Bembridge Harbour Important developments

Posted on 01 Feb 2010

Bembridge Harbour Important developments The Department for Transport has confirmed that it will be conducting a public inquiry in January into the level of harbour dues being levied by the Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company Limited over the last four years, following appeals by harbour users. It is understood this will be the first such appeal to be carried out by the DfT and the users and managers of other harbours will be watching the conduct and result of the inquiry with great interest. The Environment Agency has now published its Eastern Yar draft coastal flood and erosion risk management strategy, in which it suggests that rising sea levels over the next 100 years will leave 730 homes and businesses at risk in the Bembridge and St Helens area alone. The draft strategy recommends that the Bembridge Embankment Road, Brading Marshes and the majority of properties at risk should have improved protection from coastal flooding. The paper acknowledges that the St Helens Duver Wall (see photograph), which is in a very poor state and if breached would flood the St Helens Duver, is particularly vulnerable making vital the IOW Council’s proposal to maintain it for the next 50 years. However, EA’s recommendation to “do nothing but monitor” the groyne at Bembridge Point which they admit is also in a “very poor state of repair” and “is regularly submerged” is a mystery to Bembridge Harbour users. This negative policy will be seriously questioned during the consultation process as the groyne would appear to form an important protection to the entrance to Bembridge Harbour. Exhibitions and consultations on the EA’s draft strategy will be taking place on this most important issue over the next few months. All these events are being closely monitored by the Bembridge Harbour Trust, a body that obtained charitable status in July 2007. The main objectives of this charity are to: • preserve and enhance Bembridge Harbour, it’s approaches and setting for the benefit of the public including the users of the harbour and the communities of Bembridge and St Helens on the Isle of Wight; and • purchase the harbour from the current owner should the opportunity arise. BHT is a member of SPS. St

Bembridge Harbour goes into Administration

Posted on 21 Apr 2011

Dear Founder Members

At 11.45 on the 12th April 2011, both MLI and BHIC went into Administration.

The administrators, Sandy Kinninmonth and Karl Jackson, are two gentlemen from RSM Tenon Southampton office who will be in touch with me about the sale. They are at the moment in the BHIC harbour office securing the business.

This means that the companies continue to exist and trade and will be run by the administrators until their assets are sold at the best price on a controlled basis.

He says that this will not happen in a rush.

Mr Billot will no longer be involved. His job was to see if a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement could be organised and a clever solution put together but this was not possible in view of the complexity of the whole thing.

Mr Paul Norris claims are still very grey and he will now just have to join the queue and make his claim.

Customs & Excise will join the queue as well.

The bank remains the priority creditor.

He has not spoken with Mr Blatch (other than once briefly bumping into him on the Island by mistake)  in view of his disqualification position.

This is all public information now and will be in The London Gazette and the local and possibly national press shortly.

He says the Administrators will be getting in touch with the DfT re 1963 Act issues.

If the exit is by a company then the ACT will still work if not they will have to get the authority of the SoS to transfer the obligations and authority to a new entity.

We have been planning a combined meeting with Andrew Turner, the DfT and the IoWC to come to a conclusion on Harbour Act responsibilities, which they both have been trying to get out of. I think that this meeting is still just as important.

The High Court hearing due to be held on 20 April brought by Customs and Excise to wind up BHIC for unpaid VAT will now of course not take place.

Best wishes

Michael MacInnes

Chairman Bembridge Harbour Trust