Chairman’s Reports at AGMs

Chairman's Report at the 2024 AGM

Chairman’s Report 2024 AGM
HARBOUR WORKS
Our mason was unable to resume work on the harbour walls this year and has now retired so the amount spent remains as reported in 2023; a total of £54,447. We have subsequently made contact with another mason who has inspected the walls and will be sending the Board a report on the outstanding works. The Wet harbour was hydraulically freed of mud last April after the brook was cleared in the traditional way with a digger and dumpers. The operation will be repeated this year and we will trial the hydraulic method on the brook outfall as well. Ten stainless steel mooring points were attached to the pontoons during the year and a landing stage was fabricated at the eastern end of the main pontoon. A stainless steel chain was fixed alongside the inner steps of the main harbour wall so that vessels embarking or disembarking passengers from the steps had temporary mooring points.
FISHERIES
The lease to Ingham Fisheries for the oyster and mussel farm at the southern end of our property has been extended and now has, subject to terms, a 30-year life. The re-creation of a well-established and well-run fishing enterprise in Lympstone is something the Board has always supported and encouraged. It is now a source of some pride. Graham Wills, our Fisheries Officer, has continued to police our annual leases for the crab tilers. Members should recall that rod and line fishing from any part of LFHA property from Parsonage Stile down to the rock breakwater at the southern end of the harbour bay is prohibited. Such fishing is permitted from the rock breakwater down to Sowden Lane provided it does not inhibit the free passage of people walking along the foreshore.
PRESSURE ON HARBOUR
The pressure on Association facilities has continued and will continue if the current draft East Devon District Council Development Plan is endorsed (Plans for a further 197 houses within the existing Built-Up Area Boundary of 814 dwellings – a 25% increase). The management challenge takes most of our time. We now administer 158 owners (including HPC licensees; 157owners in 2022-23) with a combined licensed vessel LOA of 985 metres (954m last year). Members may own more than one HPC and can launch any one of them for the same fee at any one time provided the HPC license disc is either carried by the member or temporarily attached to the vessel. Members are again encouraged to consult the website and contact the Board before doing anything for which they are not licensed. The pressure on the fixed physical space for storing vessels is such that the Board has had to restrict the number of licenses issued to any household in the parish. The maximum (NOT automatic) entitlement for each household will remain limited to one dinghy, one rack-stored kayak or canoe, one tender and one moored vessel (these limits will not be by right but conditional on there being room to endorse such an application). In future all vessels will have licenses and
thus fees derived from their Length Overall (LOA). This is partly to discourage the use of trailers with large overhangs and partly to address the inaccuracy of the present band system. For most owners this will be a mostly (but not wholly) cost-negative measure. All members are reminded that it is essential that any vessel for which they have a license clearly displays that license.
CRANING OPERATIONS
Successful last year. Vessel owners are asked to plan ahead as last-minute appeals for bespoke treatment may not be accommodated – the default obligation is that owners will be present for craning. We will continue to use the practise of not having a verbal briefing in the Clubhouse but we will assemble outside the club for a brief verbal emphasis of the essential points. Boat owners will be asked to assemble at a given time and must agree to a full set of instructions for the operation by email beforehand. In future all applications for craning and for wet and dry winter berths must be submitted to the Board by the 1st of September each year so that they can be considered by the Board at its September meeting to enable a craning-out plan later in the same month.
WATER QUALITY
The Board is determined to stop South West Water from discharging effluent from the pipe off the rock breakwater. If any member sees such a discharge, please report it to the Harbour Board as soon as you can.
FUTURE PLANS
We will start the new year by removing the rock fall from behind the northern end of the club building. The new stone mason should complete the immediate repairs to the walls this year and the removal of silt will proceed as described earlier. We have the bollards for the chain barrier at the head of the slipway but are suspending installation to see how the general message – that the slipway is private property and not a public car park – will make any difference. The Exe Harbour Board (Exeter City Council) has published a draft of its Harbour Revision Order for the Exe. This will need close scrutiny but members should know that there will be a levy (yet to be determined) for vessels using the Exe Estuary.
THANKS TO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
I am grateful to my colleagues for the sheer effort that they put into the management and the upkeep of this unusual and rather precious place. It takes hundreds of hours of unpaid voluntary work which is always freely offered and cheerfully delivered. Three of our Board members; Neil Downes, Graham Wills and John Taylor-Bashford, have retired or are retiring this year. Their substantial contribution to the Association deserves our thanks which I am sure this meeting would wish to record.
Colonel G F Wheeler
Chairman, LFHA

Chairman's Report at the 2023 AGM

HARBOUR WORKS
Our mason was unable to resume work on the harbour walls this year so the amount spent remains as reported in August; a total of £54,447. The on-going plan to commission £5,000 worth of work annually will continue this year but the mason did manage some patch repairs to the wall for which we have not been charged. The Board applied for and was granted a license for the maintenance dredging of 500 tonnes of deposits every year under Section 75 of the relevant Act. It is important that all members understand that about 70 or so acres of fundus and beach up to the line of Mean Highwater Spring Tides – including the harbour slipway and the harbour walls and the ramp at Sowden End – are owned by the LFHA under Land Registry Title DN181697. The Association also has a 25-year lease on the 22 acres of fundus and beach from Darling Rock up to and including Parsonage Stile. The Parish Council has no ownership of any part of the estuary.
FISHERIES
Graham Wills, our Fisheries Officer, has maintained control of the issue of Board licenses to all of the Peeler crab farmers. Details of this operation been reported to the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority. The Board has issued Ingham Fisheries with a lease to farm shellfish (Oysters and Mussels) on a patch of fundus off Sowden End and that new enterprise is now operating. To make the heavy investment made by Ingham Fisheries in this enterprise the existing time-limited lease will be extended from 5 to 30 years (subject to terms).
PRESSURE ON HARBOUR
The pressure on Association facilities has continued and will continue if the current draft East Devon District Council Development Plan is endorsed (Plans for a further 197 houses within the existing Built-Up Area Boundary of 814 dwellings – a 25% increase). The management challenge takes most of our time. We now administer 157 owners (including HPC licensees; 140 owners in 2021-22) with a combined licensed vessel LOA of 934 metres (963m last year). Members may own more than one HPC and can launch any one of them for the same fee at any one time provided the HPC license disc is either carried by the member or temporarily attached to the vessel. Members are again encouraged to consult the website and contact the Board before acting unilaterally. The pressure on the fixed physical space for storing vessels is such that the Board has had to restrict the number of licenses issued to any household in the parish. From April the 1st this year the maximum (NOT automatic) entitlement for each household will be limited to one dinghy, one rack-stored kayak or canoe, one tender and one moored vessel (these limits will not be by right but conditional on there being room to endorse such an application). In future all vessels will have licenses and thus fees derived from their Length Overall (LOA). This is partly to discourage the use of trailers with large overhangs and partly to address the inaccuracy of the
present band system. For most owners this will be a mostly (but not wholly) cost-negative measure.
CRANING OPERATIONS
Successful last year. Vessel owners are asked to plan ahead as last-minute appeals for bespoke treatment may not be accommodated – the default obligation is that owners will be present for craning. We will continue to use the practise adopted during the Covid epidemic of not having a verbal briefing in the Clubhouse. Boat owners and their helpers will be asked to assemble at a given time on their vessels having received and agreed to a full set of instructions for the operation by email beforehand. In future all applications for craning and for wet and dry winter berths must be submitted to the Board by the 1st of September each year so that they can be considered by the Board at its September meeting to enable a craning-out plan later in the same month.
FUTURE PLANS
The Board has purchased and assembled a pontoon which now provides a physical link between the Northern part of the harbour (Ted’s Folly) and the Western wall. We have waited 6 months for some missing assembly items and thus have not yet commissioned the system for more than two vessels. These items have now been delivered and will be installed by the 1st of April. New stern buoys will be installed for the vessels mooring on the pontoon and a new stainless steel chain on stainless steel eyebolts will be installed from the top of the wall by the steps. Pressure from non-members seeking to launch vehicle towed vessels from the slipway and from others using the slipway as a car park means that we will be installing a chain barrier – which may be locked if it is abused. The Board also built a trial vertical rack for up to six (6) inflatable tenders which has been a success. The lights on the Southern harbour wall have been replaced by a line of inset solar lights which more accurately mark the safe path in the dark. The new website is now in operation and members are encouraged to use it. We hope to trial a hydraulic mud pump to remove silt from the wet harbour in the days after craning. The Board asks all members to delay taking up a summer wet berth until this operation is completed which cannot begin until all the presently berthed vessels have been removed to their summer moorings.
THANKS TO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

Chairman's Report at the 2022 AGM

    EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES
This AGM follows quite soon after the delayed 2020/21 AGM held in August of this year. Nevertheless, we have quite a lot of business to report.
HARBOUR WORKS
Our mason was unable to resume work on the harbour walls this year so the amount spent remains as reported in August; a total of £54,447. The on-going plan to commission £5,000 worth of work annually will continue this year but the mason did manage some patch repairs to the wall for which we have not been charged. The complaint about dredging led to some unnecessary and even
unpleasant correspondence with a number of statutory bodies and agencies. The Board applied to the Local Authority for a license for maintenance dredging under Section 75 of the relevant Act. This was granted with the approval of the Marine Management Organisation two weeks ago. Despite the license the Councillor who reported the dredging in April to the East Devon MP decided to dispute the grant and a flurry of emails and telephone calls again between her, the MMO and the Exe Harbour Master – containing the odd misrepresentation that in April we had dumped mud on a beach owned by the Parish Council – have so far come to nothing and we will dredge as normal this year. It is important that all members understand that about 70 or so acres of fundus and beach up to the line of Mean Highwater Spring Tides – including the harbour slipway and the harbour walls and the ramp at Sowden End – are owned by the
LFHA under Land Registry Title DN181697. The Association also has a 25-year lease on the 22 acres of fundus and beach from Darling Rock up to and including Parsonage Stile. The Parish Council has no ownership of any part of the estuary.
FISHERIES
Graham Wills, our Fisheries Officer, has maintained control of the issue of Board licenses to all of the Peeler crab farmers. Details of this operation been reported to the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority. The Board has issued Ingham Fisheries with a lease to farm shellfish (Oysters and Mussels) on a patch of fundus off Sowden End and that new enterprise is now operating.
PRESSURE ON HARBOUR
We continue to have waiting-lists for all facilities except moorings. The management challenge takes most of our time. We now administer 140 owners (including HPC licensees with a combined licensed vessel LOA of 948 metres (979m last year). Members may own more than one HPC and can launch any one of them for the same fee at any one time provided the HPC license disc is either carried by the member or temporarily attached to the vessel. Members are again encouraged to consult the website and contact the Board before acting unilaterally. The pressure on the fixed physical space for storing vessels is such that the Board is considering restricting the number of licenses issued to any household in the Parish. It seems increasingly unfair that some members have licenses for more than one type of craft – like two or more dinghies – when other members of the Parish cannot get a license for want of space. From April the 1st this year the Board will be giving a year’s notice that the maximum (NOT automatic) entitlement for each household will be limited to a maximum of one dinghy, one rack-stored kayak or canoe, one tender and one moored vessel (these limits will not be by right but conditional on there being room to endorse such an application). This limit will apply to all existing and future members from the 1st of April 2023.
CRANING OPERATIONS
Successful this year. Vessel owners are asked to plan ahead as last-minute appeals for bespoke treatment may not be accommodated – the default obligation is that owners will be present for craning. We will continue to use the practise adopted during the Covid epidemic of not having a verbal briefing in the Clubhouse. Boat owners and their helpers will be asked to assemble at a given time on their vessels having received a full set of instructions for the operation by email beforehand.
FUTURE PLANS
The Board has been investigating the possibility of providing a physical link between the Northern part of the harbour (Ted’s Folly) and the Western wall. We have purchased a sufficient number of new pontoons to provide a 3m wide pontoon from the end of the Folly to the Western Wall. We have taken advice and a 2m width should be stable so we propose to buy enough pontoons to provide a 2m wide pontoon running alongside the Western Wall itself. We have also commissioned the stainless steel brackets which will be fixed to the wall and allow the pontoons to rise and fall. Pressure from non-members seeking to launch vehicle towed vessels from the slipway and from others using the slipway as a car park means that we must re-visit the possibility of installing a code-locked barrier – the code being available to registered members. The Board is also in the process of constructing a trial vertical rack for up to six (6) inflatable tenders. This rack will take up less ground space than two such tenders so if the trial succeeds there will be a considerable space freed up for the use of members. The lights on the Southern harbour wall are failing. They were gifted to the Board but the local business that makes them can no longer source spare parts. We are looking at replacing them at a total cost of around £2,000 with a line of flush solar lights set in the middle of the top of the wall and spaced every 4.5 meters along its length from East to West. Finally, the new website which will provide a secure area for members information should be up and running this year.
THANKS TO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

Chairman’s Report at the 2021 AGM

EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES

No AGM could be held in 2020 because of the Covid epidemic.  Craning-in was delayed until June 2019 but provision had to be made for the possibility of not being able to crane-out in October.  The Board calculated that the wet harbour could take 16 additional vessels of the 20 vessels usually craned so four members of the Association volunteered to leave their boats on the Hard.  Despite this, a new summer layout for the dinghies enabled the Board to accommodate all the LSC members who wanted to bring their boats to the Hard and all the moored vessels’ tenders.  Craning-out did proceed in October 2020 and craning-in was successfully accomplished in April 2021.

HARBOUR WORKS

Repair to Harbour Walls: £5,700 in 2010, £7,800 in 2011, £6,500 in 2012, £5,820 in 2013, £5,000 in 2014, £4,850 in 2015, £5,768 in 2016, £5,029 in 2017, £4,200 in 2018 and £3,750 in 2019 (£54,447) of which £4,500 has been received as grants from the Parish Council and DCC.  The Covid epidemic and the hospitalisation of the mason meant that no works to the harbour walls were carried out in 2020 and only minimal work will be completed in 2021. That said, the defined schedule of works which are to be completed to a cost of no more than £5,000 each year will continue until both walls are fully renovated by 2027. The brook could not be dredged in 2020 and dredging could not commence until after craning in April 2021. The two years of deposited sludge was impeding the harbour access and closed the brookside mooring for Compass Rose.  The accretion was removed, as is our normal practise, to bunds just off the foreshore between the breakwater and Sowden End.  A new resident complained to the new East Devon MP who raised the issue of dredging with DEFRA which contacted the EA which then spoke to the MMO which then sent representatives from the Brixham office to Lympstone.  The upshot of this totally unnecessary drama is the demand that the Association either buys a license from the MMO under the provisions of the 2009 Marine & Coastal Access Act or we seek to gain an exemption under Section 75 of the Act as works carried out by, on behalf of, the harbour authority (Exeter City Council).  The cost of a dredging license and the conditions under which it would operate are inordinate so the Harbour Board will seek an exemption. If the authority will not grant the exemption dredging will have to cease with all the obvious consequences and costs to the tax payer.

FISHERIES

Graham Wills, our Fisheries Officer, has maintained control of the issue of Board licenses to all of the Peeler crab farmers. Details of this operation been reported to the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority. The Board has issued Ingham Fisheries with a lease to farm shellfish (Oysters and Mussels) on a patch of fundus off Sowden End and that new enterprise is now operating.

PRESSURE ON HARBOUR

We continue to have waiting-lists for all facilities except moorings. The management challenge takes most of our time. We now administer 134 owners (including HPC licensees with a combined licensed vessel LOA of 979 metres (938m last year). Members may own more than one HPC and can launch any one of them for the same fee at any one time provided the HPC license disc is either carried by the member or temporarily attached to the vessel. Members are again encouraged to consult the website and contact the Board before acting unilaterally. The pressure on the fixed physical space for storing vessels is such that the Board is considering restricting the number of licenses issued to any household in the parish.  It seems increasingly unfair that some members have licenses for more than one type of craft – like two or more dinghies – when other members of the parish cannot get a license for want of space. The suggestion is that each household should be limited to a maximum of one dinghy, one rack-stored kayak or canoe, one tender and one moored vessel (these limits will not be by right but conditional on there being room to endorse such an application).

SOWDEN END RAMP

The bollard has proved to be an effective deterrent to vehicles parking on the foreshore but we had to replace the “Vehicles Prohibited” sign which some frustrated individual vandalised.

EXE ESTUARY MANAGEMENT – THE CURRENT SITUATION

The Two small Voluntary Exclusion Zones at Dawlish and between Courtlands Cross and Exmouth are operating and new voluntary codes of conduct covering water-borne and land based estuarine activities have been published – there are no new statutory powers of bye laws to enforce them.

CRANING OPERATIONS

Successful this year.  Vessel owners are asked to plan ahead as last-minute appeals for bespoke treatment may not be accommodated – the default obligation is that owners will be present for craning

FUTURE PLANS

The Board has been investigating the possibility of providing a physical link between the Northern part of the harbour (Ted’s Folly) and the Western wall.  This would enable relocation of some of the ever-popular RIBs from the Southern Wall which, in turn, would free up moorings in the wet harbour.  The Board expects a commercial quote for providing a set of pontoons which might well offer an affordable and safe solution. Pressure from non-members seeking to launch vehicle towed vessels from the slipway and from others using the slipway as a car park means that we must re-visit the possibility of installing a code-locked barrier – the code being available to registered members. Finally, the Board has commissioned work on a new website which will provide a secure area for members information.  This should be up and running this year.

THANKS TO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD