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Annual Report of Wells Harbour Commissioners 2005

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There are currently nine Commissioners at Wells Harbour. Christine Abel remains as the Commissioners' legal advisor and David Missen, for Larking Gowen, as financial advisor and accountant. Employees number seven and are as follows: Chief Executive, Harbour Master, Harbour Master's Assistant, Chief Executive's Assistants (2 part-time), Quay Attendant and Quay Cleaner.

The Annual Public Harbour Users Meeting this year will be held on 22nd April 2005 at Wells Sailing Club and, as usual, all Harbour Users and Stakeholders are welcome.

With the help of Ian Scott, Wells Harbour has finally secured funding for The Wells Harbour Project. Work began on 1 November. Five new pontoons are now in place and will almost certainly increase visitor numbers for the coming season. The newly refurbished office accommodation will hopefully be ready by May and it is hoped that the shower and laundry facilities will be completed in time for Easter.

Funding grants were as follows:

East of England Development Agency£131,500
European Regional Development Fund£131,500
Heritage Lottery Fund£131,500
Norfolk County Council£10,000
North Norfolk District Council£5,000
Wells Harbour Commissioners£10,000
Pro Bono Services£20,000

When the building was gutted it revealed the old walls of the original building and a sail loft which would have been used to store the sails from the original lifeboat housed there. The loft will be preserved and a section of the bare wall will also be on display.

Phase 2 of the project is still at discussion level. Following the last public meeting for the whole of the project, a working party was set up consisting of local people with individual skills. Discussion is still on-going and periodical press releases keep us all updated of their progress.

The boatstore is now used to full capacity. Sadly, we have suffered a few thefts of engines in the past year. However, others along the coast have suffered much more with approximately 60 engines being taken from the local area of coastline this year. With this in mind, additional security has been added to the compound and 'North Norfolk Harbour Watch' has been set up with representatives from along the North Norfolk coast to pass on information and attempt to work together to prevent further incidents.

Regrettably, it is still very difficult to persuade our stakeholders to forward their insurance details. There are those who were in the harbour last year with no insurance who will know that they were asked to remove their boats and have not been allocated a mooring this year. In view of this, the office will not be accepting payment for dues and moorings without proof of insurance so stakeholders are asked to supply the details required upon payment to carry out the administration of the harbour as smoothly as possible.

The Harbour Master has altered the speed limits in the Habrour this season for two reasons. Firstly, young children on the beach were being swept off their feet by wash and secondly, to reduce erosion of the marsh banks. A speed of 8 knots for all navigable water from No. 6 buoy to the No. 19 buoy, and 5 knots from the No. 19 buoy to the East End.

Harbour Day will take place on sunday 14 August and will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson's victory and death. Funds raised at Harbour Day 2004 were donated to Heritage House, Maritime Volunteer Service, Wells Football Club, Yorke Trust, Army Cadets and Wells Sailing Club to promote sailing for local children. Cheques will be given out at a presentation evening at the Sailing Club in January. Plans are already in hand for this year's maritime festival. 2005 also sees the anniversary of the fateful Eliza Adams lifeboat disaster at Wells. Coxswain Allen Frary is currently arranging a commemorative service on 29 October.

Christmas Tide took place in the town in mid-December and was a tremendous success. Several leisure and fishing boats were decorated with Christmas lights and all shopkeepers teamed up making the quay a picture in the darkness. Wells Business Forum is hoping for the town's support again this year.

The Commissioners continue to make donations to the RNLI, Wells Lifeguards, Wells Carnival, Christmas Tide and the CCTV installation. The lifeguards were struggling last year but with help and donations from the RNLI, Holkham Estate and the Harbour Commissioners, the running of the club is not quite so difficult although I understand they are still looking for adult volunteers.

The Commissioners successfully applied for Categorization of the waters at Wells in February 2003 for the Summertime only. They are now considering applying for Full Categorizatoin but first require surveys to be carried out.

Trinity House inspects the buoys in the Harbour on a yearly basis and once again congratulated the Harbour Master for excellent navigation facilities within the harbour. The report also stated that the Harbour is almost over lit compared to other harbours.

We have recently completed a comprehensive Oil Spill plan required by the MCA. Staff must now attend courses so that, should we ever be called upon to implement the plan, we are totally prepared. All staff are now also trained in first aid.

Leisure use of the harbour increases each year and it is almost certain that the new pontoons will attract even more visitors to these parts. We also retain a thriving fishing fleet of 12 vessels and, of course, the resident sailing barge Albatros which will be having a change of direction this year and working from Wells much more.

One of the most important committees which exist at the moment is the Leisure Users Committee. Representatives from all user groups in the harbour meet twice a year to discuss matters arising. This discussion helps the season to progress much safer and smoother and any difficulties are ironed out very quickly.

The Commissioners aim to continue providing facilities which complement the harbour and make it a comfortable and enjoyable stay for visiting vessels and a safe and enjoyable harbour for locals to use.

Chief Executive
Wells Harbour Commissioners

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