Development directors’ plans to build around a harbour they own could face legal action from a charity.

Planning permission for 13 houses at Bembridge Harbour was granted to Bembridge Investments in March, but charity Bembridge Harbour Trust said it had concerns that the same directors were in control of the company and the harbour authority.

Notice has been served on the Isle of Wight Council by the Trust of an intended judicial review.

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A letter to the authority from the Bembridge Harbour Trust said:

“The council should have been particularly assiduous in scrutinising the application to determine whether the status of Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company [the harbour authority] was being abused in order to realise private profit.”

The developers say that their plans would create ‘genuine benefits’ to the harbour and its nearby community. The Trust meanwhile, said that the scheme has failed to meet a statutory test of delivering benefit to the harbour – with the potential for environmental harm and financial implications.

The Trust has also warned of separate legal action against the harbour authority for ‘prioritising the interests of other companies owned by [harbour directors] Malcolm and Fiona Thorpe’.

Director Mr Thorpe said the trust made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the harbour in 2011, and that the legal actions were ‘purely another attempt to gain control of the harbour’.

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Island Echo