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The work of the
Wells Harbour Commissioners 2010

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Introduction

The work of the Wells Harbour Commissioners (WHC) is regulated by central government and full details of the appointments and management structure can be found in the Government legislation Modernising Trust Ports - A Guide to Good Governance, 2nd edition (see Department for Transport website). The WHC to conform to the governance as set out by the Government.

The following information was distilled from the reports of the bi-monthly meetings of the Commissioners in 2010.

Annual meetings

The Commissioners hold an annual public meeting to report on their work. This year two meetings were held. The annual Harbour Users' Meeting took place on 16 April 2010. A meeting to present the annual accounts was held on 2 November 2010.

From 2011 onwards it is the intention to hold one annual general meeting to include the annual Harbour Users' Meeting and the presentation of accounts.

The date of the 2011 meeting is 6 May 2011.

Commissioners

It should be noted, perhaps to disabuse one of the myths about the Commissioners' work, that all Commissioners are volunteers and receive no payment for their work. The revenue from the services offered by the port is used entirely to finance the port's management and development.

Appointments

Louise Allen was appointed Harbour Administrator from 18 January 2010. Louise's career to date has been in accountancy and, since her appointment, as well as strongly supporting the administration of the harbour, she has brought all financial management 'in house' and, in the opinion of the Harbour Commissioners, has done sterling work in strengthening the financial control of the harbour management.

Gwen Woodhouse retired during the year - see the Chairman's report.

Jimmy Tottle, Harbour Assistant, retired during the year - see the Chairman's report.

Matt Somerton was appointed Harbour Assistant on 1 June 2010. He has enrolled on a RYA Coastal Skippers course.

Alistair Kerr was appointed a Harbour Commissioner on 1 January 2010. Alistair has lived in Wells since 1985 and has enjoyed the harbour facilities through windsurfing or sailing throughout this period. He worked in the university sector for 35 years and authored a variety of books, chapters and research papers before retiring in 2008.

Godfrey Sayers resigned as a Commissioner at the end of 2009.

Clive Dew retired as a Commissioner at the end of 2010 - see the Chairman's report.

Gary Anthony was appointed a Harbour Commissioner from 1 January 2011. Gary was born and raised in Wells and has been using the Harbour and Port since the age of six, handling yachts and boats. He has been Commodore of the Wells Sailing Club twice and Rear Commodore/Sailing Secretary for six years and is a Wells Town councillor.

Joan Price was appointed a Harbour Commissioner from 1st January 2011. Joan is a Wells resident and worked in the educational sector as a teacher and as an area moderator for the examining board. Joan is also a member of the committee of the Friends of the Granary Theatre and as a boat owner has been enjoying the harbour facilities for the last 35 years.

Pat Weston was appointed a Harbour Commissioner from 1 January 2011. Pat is a self-employed owner of local companies which provide property maintenance, cleaning and building services. Born and bred in Wells, the marshes, beach, creeks and East Hills were his playground and he now has a boat in the harbour. Pat is also the chairman of the Wells Carnival Committee.

Capital expenditure

2010 completed

  • New fuel barge
  • New fuel bowser
  • New feeder vessel Frank-T
  • New pontoons
  • New Number Two Buoy
  • New partitioning for the office
  • IT systems updated in the office
  • Final contribution to the Fish Handling Facility
  • New mooring bollards (mooring chains to be phased out)
  • 100m inflatable oil pollution booms

Future expenditure under consideration

  • Improvement of East End facilities
  • Boat travel hoist
  • Additional shower facilities for visiting boat crews

Environment and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

  • Boards with interpretive signs for the Channel Project have been installed.
  • Plants and birds on the Outer Harbour Bank have been surveyed: ringed plovers (an endangered species) have been nesting on the bank
  • Eel grass and mussel bed surveys

Navigation and channel

As well as maintaining the harbour buoyage to the fairway buoy to the standard required by Trinity House (another inspection passed) the staff team have recovered buoys which have been moved by gales. In addition changes to the buoyage system have been introduced. A new Number Two buoy (the same model as the Number One buoy) has been purchased and will be on station early in 2011.

Port safety

Health and safety inspections have been regularly undertaken and all H&S issues have been addressed.

Wells Harbour Maritime Trust

The WHC have been working on the development of a charitable trust to benefit young people of secondary age in the area. Full details will be published in 2011.

Wells Harbour Users (WHU)

Reports of the meetings of the WHU can be found on the harbour website. The reports confirm that the interests represented on WHU are pleased with the way in which the Harbour Master and his team respond to the different requirements of each of these interests.

Windfarm development

The WHC have continued to work with Scira in the development of the outer harbour and the dredging of the channel. Details can be found on the harbour website and the Scira website at www.scira.co.uk.

The WHC have responded in detail to all correspondence about the project. The Harbour Master has been in discussions with the Wells Sailing Club and progress has been made on supporting the quality of racing experience whilst maintaining the requirements of access to the outer harbour. The 2011 National Sharpie Championships, in particular, will be supported by the Harbour Master and his team.

The Harbour Master has been in discussions with Dunbar and Tiree harbours. These harbours are considering wind farm operators working out of their harbours and are keen to discuss the experience of the Scira operation.

The Harbour Master was invited to the Renewables 2010 Conference in Glasgow in November, where he met the shadow Energy Minister, the Scottish Energy Minister, the Renewables UK chairman and the Scottish First Minister who all showed interest in the involvement of Wells harbour in the windfarm project.

Administration

Dams and creeks

Restoration of some of the dams, first built 250 years ago, continues in the marshes with the full support of Natural England.

Harbour launch

The new harbour launch, Provider, was coded and painted. This new launch has enabled safer working down to and beyond the bar - unlike most other ports the harbour staff often go out to escort in visiting vessels, in all weathers and at all times of day and night.

Harbour website

A new website was commissioned and went on line at the start of the year. It has a number of new features including news items, reports of meetings and time lapse videos of the harbour.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The MCA inspection confirmed that the harbour oil plan was in order but that additional equipment was required and additional training to level 4P would be needed for the Harbour Master and one other staff member. MCA also inspected the harbour launch and Provider and passed them both.

Outboard covers

The anti-theft outboard covers scheme, reported on in the 2010 Brochure, is still active. Covers can be obtained from the Harbour Office.

Port Marine Safety Code

During 2010 work was begun on bringing this up to date, and this work will continue into 2011.

Quay facilities

The WHC responsibilities are many and a key one is to maintain Wells harbour as a working port, a WHC responsibility since 1663. This is why through the year the WHC have been exercised about the amount of quay space taken up by the Albatros, which, on occasions, prevents the Harbour Master from accommodating working boats.

The Commissioners have been aware of the desire by a number of the town's residents and many of its visitors for the Albatros to remain in its present position but, as yet, no one has come to the Commissioners with a solution to the problem.

After consideration and listening to the views expressed by the public, the Commissioners decided to delay the movement of the Albatros pending an analysis of working boat usage of the quay over a period of 18 months, which concludes early in 2011. In the meantime the WHC have researched a possibility of re-siting Albatros away from the town quay.

In response to comments received by the WHC, the harbour staff have monitored the monthly waste pump out from the Albatros into mobile tankers.

Slipway trolley

This has come to the end of its working life in terms of it being moved up and down as spare parts for the engine are not available. It is still being used by boats for repair work in its static position.

Staff appraisals and training

The WHC have undertaken regular appraisals of staff during the year.

Water quality

The water in the harbour was last tested by an external authority in October 2010. The water was reported as the best ever recorded.

West End car park

At the start of the discussions about the proposed car park north of Freeman Street the WHC were invited to hold a 'watching brief' as car parking was a WHC interest. The WHC are no longer involved with that project and have withdrawn from the tripartite agreement.

The new harbour launch
Harbour Launch
New outboard covers to deter theft
Harbour entrance, late 2010