Bembridge Harbour Trust (BHT) says it has exhausted all routes but has had no option other than to launch a second legal challenge in its bid to 'protect and enhance' the harbour.

BHT is a charity dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Bembridge Harbour, which has long been in conflict with harbour owners Malcolm and Fiona Thorpe.

Its chairman is well-known local resident Jeremy Gully and IW Council members Cllr Phil Jordan and Cllr Jonathan Bacon are among the trustees.

They have already launched a Judicial Review against the Isle of Wight Council as Planning Authority, in May, over its decision to grant permission for 13 houses and replacement harbour facilities.

BHT contends that the proposed development, granted permission under Enabling Development planning provisions (where a public benefit can only be achieved by overriding normal planning policy) delivers no such benefit to the SHA, while creating avoidable environmental harm and additional cost.

It says the applicant company is not the harbour authority but a separate property company also ultimately owned by Mr and Mrs Thorpe, via a third company.

They have now launched a second legal challenge by Judicial Review in the High Court, against the Statutory Harbour Authority (SHA).

Jeremy Gully, chair of BHT, said this week: “It is so disappointing that we have had to finally resort to legal action, having exhausted all other routes to achieve fairness for a harbour that is deteriorating so fast.

"Public concern can be measured by the incredible support we have had from the community, with people inside and outside the trust donating the large amounts needed to progress these challenges in the courts.

"We are immensely grateful to them."

Among the claims are that the SHA has failed in a duty to manage the harbour in the public interest.

Meanwhile, plans to repair the Bembridge Harbour groyne have stalled.

With both Judicial Reviews, the court has to confirm there is a case to answer and permission to proceed. This is expected within the next few weeks.

The IW Council and Mr and Mrs Thorpe have thus far declined to comment on the legal proceedings and await the papers being served.