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Annual Report of Wells Harbour Commissioners 2004

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In line with DETR's Trust Port Review document, three existing Commissioners have recently stood down. Two of these agreed to put themselves forward for re-election, the third, Christine Abel has reluctantly declined to reapply although she has agreed to remain as the Commissioner's Legal Advisor, being called upon when required. Christine was Clerk to the Commissioners for 20 years and a Commissioner for 9 years, she has seen many changes.

Two new Commissioners have been appointed; Mr Tony Pannell from Great Snoring and Commander Mike Woodroffe from Wells. This now brings the total number of Commissioners to nine.

Three more Commissioners attended the DETR Training Programme in London this year and found the experience very interesting and useful.

Wells Harbour currently has seven employees. The Chief Executive, the Harbour Master, the Harbour Master's Assistant, the Chief Executive's Assistants, the Car Park Attendant and a Quay Cleaner.

The Annual Public Harbour Users Meeting this year will be held on 8 April 2004 at Wells Sailing Club and as usual all Harbour Users and Stakeholders are welcome to attend.

2003 saw improvements in many facilities at the Harbour. One addition being the new Wells Harbour Website which has proved very successul. The intention this year is to install webcams. Boat owners will be able to see if their vessels are safely moored and also check weather conditions before coming to Wells. We were also able to install a new car park machine and mooring bollards on the Quay this year. We plan to continue this project with more bollards and also railings near the pontoons, in order to make the area safer. We were able to purchase two additional pontoons last year, bringing the total to three for the Harbour and one owned by Charlie Ward. A fourth one for the harbour will hopefully be installed in the Spring, and will complete the project for the piled quay. There should also be additional pontoons provided in the project at a later stage. The pontoons have proved very popular with visiting boats and many of them have returned throughout the season, or gone away and told their friends or fellow club members who have then also come to try them out. There was a total of 60 extra visiting boats last year. Hopefully more will be encouraged to visit us this year.

The boatstore continues to be a success. The new hoist has proved invaluable. More and more vessels are wanting to come out of the water for the winter and even from along the Coast for storage. The Commissioners must consider expanding this area in order to meet demand.

The vessel 'Calypso' which caused us so many problems was finally repaired and towed from Wells on 1 March 2003 and taken to Brightlingsea. We understand that the vessel has since been sold again and is being repaired to its former glory; a happy end to what was a difficult and costly time for the Commissioners.

Following this incident, a major project carried out last year was to ensure that all vessels over 15' in the Harbour have insurance cover. Although it was a very time consuming task, it did show up several vessels which were not covered and this has now been remedied. We will therefore have to carry out the same procedure this year in order to ensure that everybody continues to maintain cover. We consider this to be a very important issue, particularly following recent events.

A serious incident occurred at the beach during the Summer, when a ski boat was rammed twice by another vessel. In the interests of safety and under the Harbour Masters Directions, the owner was asked to remove his vessel and was banned from the Harbour.

We continue to upkeep and maintain the navigation buoys. The recent Trinity House inspection reported that the channel is lit and buoyed excellently, and they feel is almost over buoyed.

Certain charges have been increased very slightly for this year but the main change will be the car park fee increased to £2.50 which has been brought in line with other coastal car parks.

The Commissioners continue to honour their donations to Wells Lifeguards who do an excellent job during the Summer and also to the RNLI. They have also recently agreed to make an annual donation to the CCTV cameras, which are proving to be very useful to the Harbour. The control room often calls the Harbour Master out when it sees an incident occurring on the Quay.

The harbour project progresses slowly. We have recently received a recommendation from the Local Area Group to go forward for Objective II funding and it is hoped that Phase One of the Project to refurbish the Old Lifeboat House, protect it from flooding and provide washing facilities for visiting boats will be completed by the first half of the year. However, should this not be the case, the Commissioners are considering offering temporary shower and washing facilities for visiting yachts for this season until Phase One has been completed.

2003 saw the introduction of several trip boats at Wells which added to the activity of the Harbour, particularly the old Lifeboat 'Chieftain' and also proposed for this year a new Sailing School being developed at the East End.

We continue to have the assistance of the probation lads who tidy up areas around the Harbour carrying out their community service.

The Commissioners aim to continue providing new facilities and improving the Harbour where possible.

Hopefully the season will be as successful as last year and the weather as kind.

Chief Executive
Wells Harbour Commissioners

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