Ryde Town Council agreed to investigate buying the seaside town’s harbour at a packed public meeting last night (Monday).
Members are now expected to submit an expression of interest to the Isle of Wight Council in an effort to preserve the harbour from possible over-development in the future.
The move should give the Town Council access to commercial, budgetary and legal information regarding the harbour and its sale.
Cllr Wayne Whittle said he was pleased with the decision:
“The harbour is in my ward, just like the skating rink, which we are still hoping to get back.
“We love the harbour and love Ryde. There’s been a lot of confusion about the site and at least now the council can access all information.”
Councillors agreed to set up a working party to gather data, hold discussions with interested organisations and form a clear plan.
Councillor Julian Critchley said:
“The Isle of Wight Council has a dreadful track record of selling assets in Ryde. We have a duty to explore the possibility of Ryde Town Council owning the harbour on behalf of the town’s citizens”.
More than 50 members of the public attended the meeting, including Stella Davis, chairwoman of the Ryde Society, who have launched a campaign to protect the harbour.
Ms Davis said:
“This is a very important venture on the part of Ryde Town Council. There are considerable financial and organisational implications of working towards acquiring and running assets to try to prevent them going into private hands, as The Town Hall or the Ice Rink did.
“It is also doubly important for the highly protected ecology of the area because, in private hands, ecology tends to become a secondary issue – profitability being the first.”