A LEGAL broadside has been fired at the Isle of Wight Council over its decision to re-draw the boundaries of Newport Harbour.
Harbour resident and businessman Robert Turner this week applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision, taken earlier this year by the council cabinet, to formally define the boundaries and assets of the harbour estate.
The cabinet also agreed long-term leases should continue — even though leases exceeding three years should never have been granted under harbour rules — on the grounds there was no public interest in terminating them.
Economy cabinet member Cllr George Brown said steps had to be taken to regenerate the harbour for the future but furious campaigners accused the council of illegally re-drawing the harbour estate boundaries and mismanaging harbour property.
They hope the judicial review will force the council into a U-turn.
A statement issued by Mr Turner and Newport Harbour Action Group (NHAG) secretary Chris Dodd said: "The result of this decision was to remove large and valuable areas of land and other assets from the harbour, and it is very strongly felt this was a thinly disguised strategy to retrospectively legalise a number of unlawful leases.
"The inevitable outcome of the removal of assets, with no financial compensation to the harbour, is that its income will be reduced. Pressure will increase to raise charges and it will be harder to find the money to spend on maintenance, conservation and promotion."
A council spokesman said: "We have been made aware Mr Turner has applied for judicial review. As requested, we will be responding to his solicitors within 14 days and note they will then decide whether to continue the review within seven days of receiving our correspondence."