Isle of Wight council tax payers may have to foot a £6,000 bill for a failed bid for judicial review.

The legal case against the council and applicants for housing and other facilities at Bembridge Harbour was thrown out of court but the bid, which was lodged by Bembridge Harbour Trust (BHT), has been appealed.

The judicial review bid was brought forward in April 2021, before the council elections, but now two BHT trustees, Cllrs Jonathan Bacon and Phil Jordan, sit on the council's cabinet.

Both councillors, members of the Alliance Group, declined to comment on the impact the costs could have on the council's budget.

A judge refused the judicial review, which was based on the harbour and its environment, last month, saying there were insufficient grounds to challenge the application.

BHT was instructed to pay a portion of the costs incurred by the Isle of Wight Council and BIL.

A council spokesperson confirmed BHT was limited to a £10,000 costs cap, paying £5,796.50 of the authority's costs and £4,203.50 of BIL's.

The council's total costs amounted to £11,710, leaving it to pay £5,913.50 even though the application failed.

The cost to the council will need to be met from the council's already stretched budget.

Cllr Bacon said he would not be commenting at this stage and with a declarable interest, he needed to take advice from the council's monitoring officer, as he has done in previous situations concerning this issue.

He said in 'any event the proceedings had not yet concluded', and the situation may change, as a notice of appeal against the decision has been lodged.

Cllr Jordan said he was very careful not to be involved in matters which could be considered a conflict of interest.

He said since his election in May, he had declared any related interest at harbour trust meetings and absented himself from decision making in regard to the judicial review process.

Therefore, he said, he could not comment from any personal knowledge on the procedure and process or any financial implications.

In an update to members, BHT said its counsel 'failed to convince' the judge on a small number of important and environmental issues of concern.

It said it still firmly believed the planning decision did not deliver the material benefit to the statutory harbour authority needed to justify an enabling development.

It says the prospect of the judicial reviews has put pressure on the harbour authority to comply with legislation and 'indicators of improved decisions' have been seen with pile repairs and dredging taking place.

Malcolm Thorpe, owner of the harbour authority and BIL, said they had been pressing ahead with the work anyway and now the judicial review has been dismissed it would allow the harbour to plan for the future 'with positivity and confidence.

A second judicial review bid has been launched, challenging the actions of the harbour authority, but a hearing date is yet to be set.

Mr Thorpe said the harbour will robustly defend its position against the second judicial review.