Scrutiny Committee unhappy with Ventnor Haven running costs

Costs for the operation of the Ventnor Haven come under fire by Scrutiny Committee members.

Ventnor Haven

Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee last night called for further scrutiny of the operation costs of Ventnor Haven.

Cllrs Wayne Whittle and Ivan Warlow had been tasked by the chair of the committee, Cllr Geoff Lumley, to scrutinise the papers heading for next week’s Cabinet. At last night’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, both said they were unhappy with the cost of maintaining the harbour in Ventnor.

Whittle: “Should really look deeply into this”
Cllr Whittle questioned why the council were paying over £70,000 each year to a private business (Cheetah Marine) when some of the tasks they are responsible for could be carried out by the business using the Haven.

He said,

“In the spirit of community we should really look deeply into this, because it is losing a great deal of money at a time when we need every penny we’ve got.”

Chair of the meeting asked for the agenda item due to go to next week’s Cabinet to be postponed until the November meeting in order to give Scrutiny members more time to investigate.

Cabinet member delighted with deferral
The responsible Cabinet member, Cllr Shirley Smart, said she’d be delighted with the deferral, adding,

“There are items of concern, the history of it etc is something that I would like to know more about.”

Contract responsibilities
In 2012/13 the operating costs to the council was £102,000 of this £29,000 relates to depreciation, making the running costs £73,000.

The papers state that Cheetah Marine is employed to supervise activities in the Haven on behalf of the council under the terms of a contract which expires in August 2014. In so doing it acts as an agent of the council and is required:

  • To provide a day to day supervision service at Ventnor haven in a safe and efficient manner.
  • To collect dues from craft using the haven and the adjacent moorings in accordance with the schedule of charges.
  • To work with the Isle of Wight Council to develop the haven and expand the range of facilities and services offered to both visitors and local users.
  • To inspect all mooring chains on a weekly basis and renew when necessary.
  • To clean the slipway, walkway and the pontoons weekly or more frequently.
  • To remove all debris from the Haven and the surrounding areas daily.
  • To remove sea weed at Ventnor Haven as and when necessary and possible to ensure the Council’s compliance with environmental legislation.

Image: © Used with permission of Richard Heaven

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Friday, 4th October, 2013 3:51pm



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

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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. The picture your story appears to be correctly attributed but the one in the council report is definitely mine, presumably lifted by them from the internet. Tinkers.

  2. Brilliant isn’t it? We actually pay Cheetah Marine to run the harbour that their business uses. Whilst also subsidising the businesses of a few others. Brick it up and be done with it.

  3. High time some proper scrutiny was applied as the rubber stamping of virtually everything was itself starting to look in need of scrutiny.
    And Ventnor Haven isn’t the only thing that needs close examination as word has it that services are looking to suffer and the debts go unpaid so the Indies can have an assets give-away bonanza as conciliation prizes to the residents who they let down after they played their aspirational joker card after the elections.

  4. The Indies must be kicking themselves as Cllr Whittle would have made such a fine Leader of the Council. Ian could have plodded on as a Councilor for a couple more years but he really isn’t leadership material, hence the free for all.

    • peaceful_life

      4.Oct.2013 5:48pm

      Hi Bystander.

      Sorry to go a bit off topic, but…’s blatantly obvious what you are against, could I just ask what it is you’re for?


      • @peaceful_life sure, I am for selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership to name a few, as that is what I thought we were all promised.

        Admittedly those promise were also made in the aspirational ‘Framework For Change’ document, but they had me fooled.
        They need to practice what they preach as from what I’ve seen they’re every bit as political as the last lot were. The residents wont be fooled by the assets giveaway, they will see it for what it is a short term fix to save face for the Indies, as the electorate know they will pay for fore-fitting income in the long run.

    • Sally Perry

      4.Oct.2013 6:04pm

      Cllr Whittle was reminded last night that before he jumped ship to the Conservatives, he was one of the Independents working with Cllrs Lumley and Stephens a few years ago on alternative budgets that questioned the Haven costs. Their scrutiny was ‘poo-poo-ed’ by the Conservatives who he now sits alongside.

      • Perhaps that would go some way to explain the reasons why he crossed over if he could see no way things would change as an Independent.
        And he is still arguing the same thing now isn’t he? I would have thought the Independents would have seen him as an ally, but no he is a Tory isn’t he, the sworn enemy despite their aspirations for pluralism.

  5. mywifesheelsr2high

    4.Oct.2013 7:25pm

    Bystander can you just imagine it Cllr Whittle as leader of the Council he could really set the Council Chamber alight with his stunning speeches and a little help from his novelty giant lighters.

    • Very nice, your wife must be proud of you. At least Cllr Whittle has his feet firmly on the ground and puts his point across very well. Whereas Cllr Stephens has been strutting around like he’s a Nobel Prize winner ever since he became Council leader, he makes blunders when speaking publicly, always has done, he tries speaking about things he knows little about and then tries to bluff his way out of the situation he lands himself in. Try that in a TV or radio interview, you’ll never look back.

  6. Island Monkey

    4.Oct.2013 7:35pm

    This brilliant deal proves yet again how the council has no clue when it comes to negotiating with business. The low rent deal done with Giddings is another good example. He wants £60 million for a business he runs on council land that he pays a pittance in rent for. Let us pray the new lot have a better grip.

  7. Downwind resident

    5.Oct.2013 8:40am

    What exactly are the Isle of Wight Council’s responsibilities to ensure the above stated ‘Compliance with environmental legislation’ in respect of seaweed removal at Ventnor?

    Why doesn’t the Isle of Wight Council comply with those same responsibilities at East Cowes and elsewhere?

    • As I understand it: there was no seaweed issue before the Council built Ventnor Haven and there now is. So they have to deal with the problem they caused.

      • Downwind resident

        5.Oct.2013 9:51am

        So just like East Cowes and the original Harbour Wall built by the Shrape since when there has been a seaweed problem.

        But what is the ‘Environmental legislation’ to which the Isle of Wight Council must comply?

  8. AT LAST… Someone finds something that WE (many residents) always said was a ridiculous farce that cost us more than money… Who, in their right mind, would think that a Boat ‘factory’ plonked next to a feature waterfall and a famous kiddies paddling pool, with restricted access thanks to yet another planning cock up that removed one side almost completely, AND the removal of a pile of parking spaces would bring in the visitors or make a centre piece?? Not only does this mix a dusty and smelly industrial unit with tourism but it costs US money! We have the huge cost of removing the seaweed from next to the other factory unit which was a problem that was either missed or ignored during the planning stage (yet again).. So lets have a proper look and see if we can reduce costs or even claw some back! Now wouldn’t that be a sign that our Council can get some things right?

    • Im sure that bloggers here will remember that Ventnor Haven was the product of the last Lib Dem / Independent, Island First coalition. Now they are back in office as pure ‘Independents’ they might be able to get it right this time around ha ha.

    • Couldn’t have put it better but all this has been so obvious for years.
      Why is anything different now?

  9. So we have built a harbour and we pay a private company for it to be cleaned and maintained and we accept the loses through depreciation in order that a single business can operate there. If they are the only people benefiting from the harbout why aren’t they providing the maintenance themselves? If that’s not financially viable for them then join the club as it isn’t for the council tax payer either.
    We are told that we all have to tighten our belts in times of austerity as we are all in it together, but tightening them in order to subsidies one private company, why? Next they will be telling us we have to replace BT’s infrastructure in order that we can pay them for using what we already own.

  10. Undoubtedly the sale of fresh fish every single day is a great plus for the tourist trade, as is fresh from the sea fish with chips – the tourists love it. The harbour is worthwhile just for that. Ventnor is famous for that in the national press and all over the UK and beyond. That’s what makes their holiday memorable – seeing Blake out in the Bay, landing it, and then being able to buy it. It’s magic -don’t under estimate it.

    Tourists love the Island-paddling pool, Besty and Spinkys and the pretty waterfall.

    For a while at the start all this was threatened by the Great Stink.

    The problem of the seaweed stink has been bad a few times this very hot summer – but nothing like it was before its regular clearance was sorted out by the Council and Cheetah Marine. Then the whole town smelt like a sewer for days on end. Now the stink usually only stretches as far as the paddling pool before it is dealt with thank goodness.

    So the boat builders are not the only people benefitting from the harbour – the tourist industry and all that spins from that is benefitting.

    It’s not the boat building that is smelly – it’s the seaweed getting trapped and allowed to rot in the harbour that causes the stink.

    Maybe Ventnor was able to get our seaweed stink problem sorted out whereas the other places were not so successful because Ventnor had a good mayor and county councillor at the time who was a hardworker, able to get his head round the problem and able to negotiate with the right people through all the bureaucracy.

    Understandably the scrutiny committee want to try and get costs down in this recession but I hope they manage to come to an agreement satisfactory to all sides. It’s a great plus that this part of the seafront is worked by local families who employ local people, who get on with each other and who care about Ventnor. When the going gets tough they are more likely to make a go of things to everyone’s benefit than some remote overner who will take all the profit off the Island and who never mixes with and who doesn’t have any empathy with the local population.

    They and people like them are what makes Ventnor such a nice place. Don’t knock them (I’m not related to, nor have I ever worked for any of them, by the way – I’m just an observer)

  11. Isleoflove

    5.Oct.2013 9:47pm

    It just occurred to me that Ventnor Town Council might want to take over this asset as well? As far as Cllr Whittle is concerned, I think Bystander has a point, it sounds that he is asking questions and could he would make a good leader? Perhaps the Indies will woo him back!

  12. Just a thought but wasn’t Cllr Whittle one of those who went to see Whitelink about starting an eastern group for solent travelers,when there was already one going,he’s not that clever then is he.

    • Wightlink said in the County Press that they’re working with Councilors to establish a East Wight user group, so even they apparently knew nothing of an existing user group when they met with the Tories, or afterwards. So just how many members do this hidden members group have?

      Cllr Whittle is working hard for the good of the Island, same as he has always done.

      And its the Island’s loss that he isn’t cabinet member for tourism but there was zero chance of him making the grade for any position in this cabinet as 1) he is a Tory and 2) he isn’t tied to his wife’s apron strings

      • Actually, even I thought there was already an East group, but assumed I was wrong on account of the Tory visit. Perhaps they convinced Wightlink too, that there isn’t one.

        What’s with the apron strings – are male indie councillors being controlled by a greater force?!

      • @Bystander “Cllr Whittle is working hard for the good of the Island, same as he has always done.”

        Mmmm! I always wondered why he changed his political coat to join the ruling Tory party after being elected as an Independent but did not stand down to have a bye-election at the time.

        Was that the reason? If so, the leaders of his new party let him down badly.

        • Academic really isn’t it as he won by a larger majority of votes as a Tory (133) than he did as an Independent (46). Which pays testament to his residents opinion of him as a local Councilor.
          I would have thought it was political suicide to cross over to the Tories, just goes to show its the man/woman at the end of the day, which is as it should be in local elections.
          Whether the Tories have let him down you would have to ask him that yourself, my personal view is they let everyone down, except the bankers, but I’m talking about the man not his political label.

          • @Bystander “Academic really isn’t it as he won by a larger majority of votes as a Tory (133) than he did as an Independent (46). Which pays testament to his residents opinion of him as a local Council(l)or.”

            Not necessarily! Other elements come into play in an election.

            For example in 2009 Cllr Whittle (Ind) won 12.5 of 12.5% of the electorate’s votes. whereas in 2013 Cllr. Whittle (Conservative) won only 11.3%.

            One could also point to his success in 2013 being helped by the apathetic turnout (33.5% in 2009, 28.5% in 2013)- as people nationwide signalled their distrust of politicians at Westminster and locally .

            A further aid that probably contributed was the better organisation of the Conservative party in getting its supporters out to vote.

          • Wow that has to win the prize for the most tenuous and pedantic attack on him yet, even for OTW. Best you don’t move to Ryde North East then I guess.

          • Not an attack at all, he is probably an excellent councillor chosen by his constituents for whatever reasons..

            The facts quoted are just a statement of election statistics rebutting your conclusion sbout his improved electoral success in 2013.

            But then you have not supported your recent conclusion that “90% of teachers voted Conservative” with electoral facts, have you?

          • @Cicero my recent conclusion that“90% of teachers voted Conservative”?? I have no idea what you are talking about, did you just invent that?

          • @Bystander My abject apologies!!!!

            I was accusing you of something Don Smith wrote (2/10/13 @ 0827) when he said:
            “Ninety percent of teachers voted for this gang of ex-Etonians – You get what you vote for.”

            Sorry once again for the misattribution! :-(((

          • No problem, I wonder if Don made it up

          • I see you didn’t want to waste your research in any case, Cicero! (time and date of Don’s post) :)

            Bystander, how dare you make me laugh by your deadpan suggestion that Don doesn’t first thoroughly research the bases for his assertions…

          • I asked Don for his evidence but got no reply. :-))

          • Some things you just feel in your waters….

          • Like a kidney infection? :-))

  13. Thought this article was about Ventnor Harbour?
    Why is the issue diluted with jibes about politicians/councillors.

    Back to the Harbour.

    When was it last dredged?

    When the tide is out it is clear that it hasn’t been dredged for years.

    Should the question then be – “when did WE last PAY to have the Harbour dredged?”

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