USERS of Lyme Regis harbour will see their fees increased in the next financial year.
New fees have been agreed for the three harbours controlled by Dorset Council – in Lyme Regis, West Bay and Weymouth – with most going up by 3%.
The fees were questioned by Dorchester councillor Les Fry, who said the scale of charges appeared low.
“They appear very good value, particularly when compared to taking a caravan or a tent,” he said, later questioning whether the fees might be too cheap.
Dorset Harbours Committee chair Mark Roberts said that there had been no adverse reaction to the increases and he believed they were set at a competitive rate.
“We did benchmark against other harbours and we feel that we are positioned very well,” he commented.
“The fact that we have small waiting lists for most leisure boats suggests we have got it just about right. If we didn’t have a waiting list we might possibly be over-charging and if we had big waiting lists we might be able to think about bigger increases.
“On balance we are doing a very fair and sensible small increase this year.”
Cllr Paul Kimber, a former Harbours Committee member, said he was worried that the fees might be too high and could result in the harbour starving itself of fees.
Cllr Roberts said harbour users had been consulted and the majority had accepted that they had arrived at a fair compromise, given the council’s financial position. He said he believed this was why there had been no adverse reaction to the increases.
Lyme Regis harbour bucking the trend
The committee meeting also heard that Weymouth Harbour was running at a loss, with the report stating: “It is recognised that expenditure is greater than income and relies on the harbour reserve which is not sustainable.”
A report back in December said Lyme Regis harbour was bucking the trend during the coronavirus pandemic, and was expected to end the financial year with a £6,000 profit thanks to much lower expenditure than its neighbours.
The new fees include stays of up to 24 hours at Weymouth at £3.05 per metre, with a set fee of £2.50 for plug in power.
Marina berths are charged at about £350 per year, less for local residents, or charity groups.
Mooring fees are currently £7 for vessels up to six metres for up to four hours, £9 for six to 12 metres and £11 for over 12 metres.
The harbour also offers discount schemes with those staying four nights, getting a fifth night free, with a similar scheme for short stays.
The use of showers and water is included in the fees.
For more details on Lyme Regis harbour, visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/countryside-coast-parks/harbours-and-quays/lyme-regis-harbour.aspx
By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins