Ryde Harbour might be sold off, say Council

Council say the harbour could be subject to development in the future, if sold


This in from the council. In their own words. Ed

The loss-making Ryde Harbour could be sold to secure its immediate future and to act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the seafront area.

The Isle of Wight Council is set to market the man-made harbour following a private sector approach for the 160-berth facility. A delegated decision paper published today (Friday 8 February) recommends that the amenity is market-tested with a covenant that it must only be used as a harbour or marina.

Losses of £34,000 per annum
The document proposes that the council should market the harbour as it loses £34,000 a year and could shortly require dredging and maintenance work that would cost the authority around one million pounds.

The paper states that this expenditure – for which the council has no budgeted funds – would be avoided if the harbour was taken over by the private sector.

“Securing private sector investment in the operation of the harbour…does permit the harbour to be sustained without additional council input or cost,” the paper states.

It adds that new private sector investment in the harbour could be the catalyst for further regeneration of the area.

Future development possible
While the covenant to continue running the facility as a harbour would be attached to the sale, that could be reviewed by a future Isle of Wight Council should the new owner – or another party – come forward with development proposals that would improve both the facility and the economic benefit it provided for the area, the paper says.

“Securing a private sector owner for the harbour could therefore provide an opportunity for the council to both resolve the medium term future of the harbour and provide a possible catalyst for other investment into the Ryde seafront,” it adds.

“How well these objectives can be achieved can only be evaluated following a disposals process that involves openly marketing the harbour for sale and evaluating all of the bids received for it against these criteria.”

The full delegated decision paper can be viewed via the following link. As part of the decision making process, all views expressed including those of, harbour users, local member and Ryde Town Council are taken into account. The harbour will remain operational throughout the process.

The paper has been embedded below for your convenience.

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Friday, 8th February, 2013 11:54am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2auF

Filed under: Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. This has to stop! Stop selling our Island off. It isn’t yours to sell! You are supposed to be looking after these facilities not getting rid of all of OUR things in a fire sale.

    This really feels like the Conservatives have finally realised that everyone on the island is sick to the back teeth of them and they’re thinking that they’ve got to flog off everying before they lose the election and won’t be able to sell anything more off.

  2. Billy Builder

    8.Feb.2013 1:10pm

    Whilst in principle I do not have an issue with the Isle of Wight Council disposing of unwanted assets, they do need to look at any wider implications of the disposal of those assets. My concerns with this particular disposal are twofold.

    Firstly, the Ryde Marina is one of the key features of the Ryde waterfront, and as such should be viewed as an amenity. If this facility were to close, or be run down, it would be a loss to Ryde, and would disadvantage Ryde as a holiday destination. As with the Ryde Theatre, if the Council withdraw their support, then it might be years before a new purchaser is found. This could lead to yet another r derelict site in Ryde like the old Harcourt Sands holiday village.

    My second concern is regarding the inclusion of a covenant to ensure that the property can only be used as a harbour/marina. The problem is not with the covenant, as this would be absolutely essential, but is with the statement that says ‘However, given the council’s wish to stimulate regeneration in the area it should be willing to release the covenant …’. This says to me that the council will dispose of the property to this private company, who will run down the facility, then propose an alternative use. Then in a year or so time we will have a Netto’s supermarket or some other such structure on the site.

    The council have shown consistently ever since the current administration have been in power, that they cannot be trusted with Isle of Wight assets.

  3. Billy Builder

    8.Feb.2013 1:50pm

    I tell a lie, I have three concerns not two, the third is Stuart Love, I wouldn’t trust that man to run a bath.

  4. Bystander

    8.Feb.2013 2:00pm

    Its loss making, and therefore subsidised by the Council tax payer, because the berthing fees aren’t high enough to cover running costs. The Council couldn’t boil an egg without messing it up so what chance of them running the harbour. If it isn’t a viable proposition for the fees to be set at a high enough level to sustain it, its a no goer in public or private ownership.

    • Spinwatch

      8.Feb.2013 2:23pm

      This word ‘loss’ disturbs me. It’s a new one that the council has brought into use as a justification to sell off Island assets left, right, and centre.

      The whole purpose of the council is that it spends money. Beyond parking fees, it doesn’t really earn anything, it’s just given money by the local council tax payer and national government and once that money has been given to it, its purpose is just to spend it.

      It should spend it on things that improve the lives of the people who live here, and pay a large amount of money towards its existence.

      Here’s a for-example, A harbour in Ryde that brings in some spending trade in to the town and perhaps makes people lives just that little bit more enjoyable.

      The £34,000 the council spend to do that is not a loss, it’s a cost. A subtle but very important difference.

      • That’s a really valid point. By the council’s logic then, Social services, education or the Fire Service and even Libraries could be regarded as loss-making and sold off. Oh hang on…..

      • Bystander

        8.Feb.2013 3:55pm

        However, as I said the tax payer is funding a minority’s expensive hobby, the harbour isn’t an essential service and it really isn’t viable unless its at least self funding. The Council should never have wasted so much money building it, there is a very good reason why its man made and thats because Ryde cant have a natural harbour as the sea is too shallow.

        • Bystander

          8.Feb.2013 7:28pm

          Could it be a resident berth holder at the harbour who is red marking my comments. There are 200 hundred berths, half temporary for visitors and the rest permanent berths which we are all subsidising. One things for sure given the massive cuts in central funding not everything can avoid being cut, yet should we allocate money to sponsor the luxury hobby of the few whilst at the same time social services budgets are cut?

  5. Billy Builder

    8.Feb.2013 2:22pm

    With any public investment it is very important to look at things in the round. If the Ryde waterfront loses its marina, then what else is lost or gained. The Marina is costing 1/5 of a IOW CEO to support each year, or 1/4 of a Director of Service, but the Marina will proved employment support for a number of jobs both within the council and in the private sector. So losing the Marina will result in say 2 additional people collecting unemployment benefit, will reduce the tourist put to Ryde, which in turn could lead to a loss of another couple of jobs.
    When the plug was pulled on Ryde Theatre, which required support of 25K per year, how many jobs were lost. How many Islanders travel to Portsmouth or Southampton to the theatre, because they can’t go to Ryde.

  6. Black Dog

    8.Feb.2013 3:22pm

    Put people in charge that know how to make things work not a bunch of pen pushers.

  7. Will some councillors have to declare personal interests and therefore be barred from taking part in any (formal) discussions or decision?

  8. Bystander

    8.Feb.2013 4:51pm

    Wouldn’t surprise me if this is leading up to a building development on the Peter Pan site.

  9. This all looks to be rather extraordinary and seems to be being presented as a done deal, with only 10 days for anyone to make any sort of representations. None of the usual public safeguards – such as being put on a disposals list, having the asset valued or inviting bids etc. seems to have taken place.

    If this sort of thing can apparently go on without any controls – what’s to stop those in high places selling our assets to their associates and doing dodgy deals ?

    This doesn’t seem like democracy to me.

    • Surely this has to go through the normal disposals process and bids will be invited from any interested parties, with the normal timescales being applied?

      I sincerely hope so.

      Unfortunately the harbour is a complete folly – built in the 80s at one of the few points of coastal deposition around the Island. It would have been better to spend the money reclaiming land off the seafront of Ryde instead!

      While the cost of £34k per year is capable of being stomached on an annual basis we’re seeing the repeated pattern of failure to budget for more major work – dredging was a likely necessity, just as much as replacing the Cowes Ferry is. Neither appear to have been budgeted for in the past several years.

      If most companies management had allowed holes of millions of pounds to form in their budgetary structure their management would normally fall on their swords. Let’s hope the electorate drive the proverbial sword into the chest of those who have allowed such fiscal dereliction to develop around the harbour, floating bridge, road network etc etc etc etc. Let us also hope the incompetent executives are also delivered a similar blow, both in loss of jobs and inability to find new roles in similar positions.

  10. To attract people in yachts to the Isle of Wight, you need something for them to come to. Ryde has become “chav” city in recent years. Why would they want to moor their boats in Ryde? I think they would sooner dock in Seaview, Bembridge or Cowes. So let some idiot buy Ryde harbour, if they want to waste their money.

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