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