District council sets £480k budget for harbour office rebuild

Harbourmaster Grahame Forshaw MBE pictured on the Cobb

WEST Dorset District Council has committed a further £220,000 for a new harbourmaster’s office in Lyme Regis, bringing the total cost of the project to £480,000.

The council has been looking to update the existing office on the Cobb, built as part of the lifeboat station complex in 1996, since a health and safety inspection in 2015 found it did not provide “suitable and efficient welfare facilities”.

The Health and Safety Executive issued a Notice of Contravention, reporting that the harbourmaster’s office had unsanitary kitchen facilities, insufficient washing facilities for the type of work involved, no facilities for rest and eating meals and no suitable facilities for accommodating and changing clothes.

West Dorset set aside a budget of £200,000 for the rebuild of the office in the 2015/16 financial year, but at this point no design had taken place.

Having completed the design phase in December 2017 and having now received quotes for the construction, members of the council’s Strategy Committee this week agreed to a further £260,000 funding, bringing the total cost to £480,000.

The new office will be a modern, two-storey building with a new kitchen and proper facilities for washing, changing, rest and eating meals, plus a meeting for commercial discussion.

It will also include a public reception area and a gantry and balcony providing 180 degree observation of the surrounding coastline. Discussions have taken place with the RNLI with regards to joint funding of the balcony, which could also be used by the lifeboat crew, and this would reduce the cost to the council by £12,000.

Lyme Regis harbour has seen a significant increase in business and economic trade and improve office facilities are required for harbour staff to meet demand.

In a report to the council, harbourmaster Grahame Forshaw MBE said: “There are 240 moorings in the harbour, 20 of which are for commercial vessels and the remainder for private craft. We attract over 200 visiting craft or yachts from other harbours on overnight visits.

“Through the year, over 2,000 people visit the office for a variety of reasons, not only mooring holders but the general public with enquiries or safety concerns.

“We have meetings in the office with various organisations such as the Border Force, police and fire services, RNLI, Lyme Regis Town Council, sailing club, power boat club and the gig club, as well as many others, which at present have to be held in a non-confidential setting. A fit for purpose meeting room is required.

“There are a number of events that the harbour host, all have some demand on harbour office time. In 2018 we will be involved with Lifeboat Week, regatta & Carnival Week, a major national sailing regatta, rowing gig regatta and a national water-ski event.

“Over the next five years the harbour anticipates a growth of over 15 per cent in visiting craft, a 10 per cent increase in existing mooring holders spending nights on the pontoon and a five per cent increase in the use of general harbour facilities, including the slipway.”

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