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 (Thursday 7th February) recommends that the amenity is market-tested with a covenant that it must only be used as a harbour or marina.
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.
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.
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