The ongoing battle over the way Bembridge Harbour is run took another twist this week.

Bembridge Harbour Trust (BHT) has beens granted leave to pursue a judicial review of the harbour authority, on the grounds that it made loans of £630,000-plus to other companies its directors own.

BHT believes under the terms of the local harbour act these sums should have been available to fund harbour improvements.

However, Bembridge Harbour Authority says BHT has only been granted leave to review one of the seven points it had sought to take to court.

A statement from BHT this week said: "This High Court decision puts paid to an oft repeated misconception that BHA is absolved of responsibility as a public body due to its being privately owned. Instead, it confirms once and for all its status as a statutory body, bound by the local Harbour Act, accountable to the public and with a duty to the public interest.

"Unfortunately, the nature of JR means that only issues falling within a short time window may be heard, meaning that older issues cannot be taken into account under this particular process.

"Such issues would bring the total sums that concern us to over £1.5M."

Other grounds BHT had requested be taken forward were declined.

BHT said "Our reluctant decision to take court action is against a background of Mr and Mrs Thorpe’s policy of actively resisting the government's recommendation for transparency in the harbour authority, and their refusal to explain these matters with evidence on grounds of commercial confidentiality.

"Such lack of openness has only added to community concern about visible deterioration of the harbour, with locals even offering to themselves restore a key groyne that the SHA has failed to maintain despite declaring it a priority."

BHT are also seeking an appeal against the refusal of permission of judicial review against IW Council permission for Bembridge Investment Ltd’s development scheme on land currently used, and some registered to, the Harbour Authority.

That JR has now been referred for permission to appeal.

Read more: Potential big bill for council over failed harbour legal action.

Read more: Big bill for Bembridge trust after Judicial Review bid fails.

Mr Thorpe claimed costs of the IW Council and Bembridge Investments Ltd, in relation to the first hearing on that JR were still unpaid.

Mr Thorpe told the CP: "BHT has issued Judicial Review 2 against BHA, regarding seven items and have been given permission for only one aspect to be considered by the court.

"BHT continue to submit requests for the management accounts for BHA; while we make available annual accounts submitted to Companies House, there is no legal obligation to provide our internal accounts or details.

"There are two significant current dredging contracts being handled by BHA: an on-going contract to widen and deepen the entrance channel fairway and a separate dredging contract for both sides of the visitor’s pontoon and fairway.

"BHA has employed a professional external sand and silt expert for over 25 years, who also advises the harbour on Bembridge Point groyne.

"The advice received is that no convincing argument has been promoted that a positive result would be forthcoming in refurbishing this groyne."