Ryde Town Council has confirmed it hopes to buy Ryde Harbour for £1 — and protect it from commercial development.
The town council has been designated a special purchaser for the 150-berth harbour, currently owned by the Isle of Wight Council.
It has three months to draw up a business case to buy the harbour, as well as the leases for part of the neighbouring car park and an area of Eastern Esplanade Gardens.
Jordan: ‘An important asset for our community’
Cllr Phil Jordan, chair of Ryde Town Council’s harbour working group, said the town council was looking forward to securing the harbour as ‘an important asset for our community’ and had been pleased with the Isle of Wight Council’s response so far.
“With a possible threat of commercial marine company ownership— or worse, building on the harbour under a regeneration scheme — we have undertaken to protect the future of the harbour as a leisure marina.”
Awaiting further reports
Subject to further reports commissioned by the town council, it hopes to take possession of the harbour in April 2020.
The Isle of Wight Council said in January it intended to sell the harbour because it could not afford the maintenance and repair costs, Ryde and Ventnor Harbours are expected to cost the authority £515,000 over the next ten years.
Ryde Town Council has long-term plans to improve the harbour facilities — including the pontoons, lighting, toilets and showers.
Jordan: No existing plans to increase Ryde precept
Cllr Jordan said:
“We still have to finalise terms and conditions for the harbour transfer to Ryde Town Council and we are mindful of any covenants imposed, but we are proceeding on the agreed basis that the cost of the harbour to Ryde Town Council will be a nominal £1 transfer price.
“Any additional minor land costs and leases are to be discussed and agreed during the next three-month period.
“To reassure residents, we have no existing plans to increase the Ryde precept in 2020 for the purpose of acquiring the harbour and we envisage it operating as a ‘standalone entity’ going forward.
“This is a great example of how Ryde Town Council continues to maintain and deliver sustainable services for our town and community — by protecting and maintaining our heritage and assets whenever and wherever possible.
“We are committed to providing a great community environment for residents and visitors in Ryde.”
Decision behind closed doors
A delegated decision is due to be made on 25th November, by Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for finance and resources, approving Ryde Town Council’s status as special purchaser.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed