Management of loss-making Ventnor Harbour to go on open market

Negotiations with Ryde Town Council as Special Purchaser of Ryde harbour have to be concluded first, but the management of Ventnor Haven is potentially up for grabs

ventnor harbour

A delegated decision was made last week by deputy leader of the council, Stuart Hutchinson to offer the management of Ventnor Harbour to a third party, through the open market.

As well as the Ventnor Town Council, a number of other parties have shown interest in the management of the Harbour, which the Isle of Wight council announced their intention to shed responsibility for last year. That followed leader of the council, Dave Stewart saying the high cost of running the Harbour was “just not right”.

Ventnor Harbour currently has an operating loss of £69,000 before depreciation each year. The annual income from moorings and leases is £16,000.

Duty to remove seaweed
The removal and disposal of sea weed (macroalgae) costs the Isle of Wight council £75,000 per annum. The current contract for this until end of March 2020.

The council has a duty to remove and dispose of the macroalgae to prevent a statutory nuisance being created through its accumulation and decay, so if negotiations for someone to take over management of the Harbour have not been concluded by 1 April 2020, the contract to get rid of the seaweed will need to be renewed.

Seaweed removal contract could be higher
Council papers say:

It is currently proposed to let a further two-year contract, albeit this might be at a higher cost to the council than at present.

According to the papers, market testing for Ventnor Harbour won’t take place until negotiations with Ryde Town council have been concluded.

The paper
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Image: © Richard and Gill

Thursday, 21st November, 2019 5:18pm



Filed under: Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, South Wight, Top story, Ventnor

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21 Comments on "Management of loss-making Ventnor Harbour to go on open market"

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Benny C
What are the odds that Dinosaur Dave Stewart and his Cabinet of curiosities have mismanaged the timing of all this so that they sleepwalk into wasting yet more of our money. Judging by the calamitous mess they’ve made of the floating bridge delivery phase, St Mary’s roundabout, the Island Roads contract and countless other critically important matters I don’t think they should be allowed anywhere near the… Read more »

So why did the IWC not take suitable action against the designers of Ventnor Haven years ago when it became apparent that the design was flawed and that seaweed was going to collect there? I seem to remember that local advice was ignored at the design stage.


They WERE told at the time but chose to go with the usual ‘ignore the facts, unless they are proved, then do nothing’ routine that has blighted most of IWC plans of late. They prefer to pay out millions for ‘experts’ and ignore the facts as told by those who live with problems every day. Ho hum same stuff, different day!

the auditor

What impact will this have on the seafood and boat building businesses currently occupying the harbour area? It would appear that they have enjoyed a subsidised existence for many years.


Well I guess that unless one or the other, or both, buy the management then they will just have to pay the commercial rates for both businesses.. Shame really, but it does take away the stigma and nasty smell (other than the seaweed) that has been part of the Haven since it opened.


What is shocking is that IOWC somehow thinks that a decision like this, key to one of the island’s principal towns, is somehow appropriate to take behind close doors, rather than in a committee meeting with press and public present and able to participate.


Fiver says the council give the harbour to Geoff and Sean for a quid. Fishing and boatbuilding suddenly becomes unsustainable down there. Block of flats replaces the factory and another goes up on the harbour. trebles all round. Dave Stewart retires to the bahamas.

It’s certainly almost inevitable that one or both will buy out the Haven and , as both companies claim it is very hard to make a profit, something will replace both buildings. Will flats, sorry, Luxury Apartments with unobstructed sea views and a seaweedy stench for the discerning holiday home owner, get planning permission I wonder… but there again, I never thought the IWC would have subsidised… Read more »

Davimel. Cheetah have coined it in since being virtually given the site. Rent from the cafe. A fortune for running the harbour. They’ll claim otherwise, but you are right our lovely seafront will end up as flats.

Thanks CB500, it’s no secret that Cheetah have made a shrewd move re-locating to the Harbour, obviously they build a factory in a tourist area that often smells of fibreglass resin, often has dust flying about, loud noises and no ability to receive or launch craft but hey,, just close down the roads late at night and carry the things in and out on huge lorries! So… Read more »
WOW! Paragraph 18 of the Delegated Decision Report makes eye watering reading, quote: “In terms of future capital costs the harbour will require capital dredging, currently estimated at £300,000 to £400,000; in addition the gabions that form part of the construction of the harbour arm will require replacement at an estimated cost of £1,062,000.” I wouldn’t like to put a figure on the contingency! Management of statutory… Read more »

Ryde town council are not committed at this stage to buying the harbour …. they are at the viability report stage

Lots of residents against buying it…… it needs to have the study done

I worry that recent press releases make it sound it’s nearly a done deal.

In 2016 the Council commissioned Royal Haskoning DHV to survey Ventnor harbour to produce a solution to the build up of seaweed having decided that the prevailing dredging contract was too expensive. A FOI asked whether or not the survey was put out to tender. The first reply denied there was a contract. The second reply stated that RHDHV were the best people to conduct the survey… Read more »
Simon Cooke

Published payments from IWC to RHDHV in relation to Ventnor Haven since 2015:

2015/16 – £18,749
2016/17 – £25,128
2017/18 – £46,257

It would be difficult for RHDV to be considered as an independent consultant when they had designed and built Ventnor Harbour- albeit as stated in a previous incarnation. Is there a professional engineer of any discipline employed on the staff of Isle of Wight Council with some nouse to shine a light on the way forward for the elected members? Smells a bit like the floating (?)… Read more »
Just in case I’m missing something have I understood this saga? RHDHV designed and built Ventnor Haven. A defective design and lack of knowledge of the prevailing tidal conditions meant that over the years rotting seaweed accumulated and produced high levels of hydrogen sulphide which not only smells revolting but is highly toxic. The boat builders using the Haven designed and operated a system to remove the… Read more »
Re Ventnor Haven Patsy, yeh, you got it just about right. The only missing point is that the Council and RHDHV were told about the Seaweed issue by quite a few locals who know of the issue (I seem to remember a couple of comments here during the consultation), but they chose to ignore what was fact and go with ‘our experts don’t see an issue’ so… Read more »
Benny C
The volume and content of this thread says it all. Absolutely terrible judgement from IOWC (again). HOW CAN Dave Stewart stand aside and not have the leadership guts comment on his poor decision making when clear evidence shows the facts were available but yet again IOWC cabinet thought, without any justification, they knew better. How utterly awful for Ventnor, islanders and the reputation of IOWC. THIS IS… Read more »

The Haven accounts for last year confirm that RHDHV offered no solution as a result of their consultation.

“Their report concluded that whilst physical changes to the Haven were possible, albeit at a high capital cost, they could not be proven to mitigate the accumulation of macroalgae and that the most economical way of resolving the situation was to continue the physical removal and disposal.”