Venue: Cliff House, Salcombe
Contact: Email: Member.Services@swdevon.gov.uk
to approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 17 September 2018;
The minutes of the meeting of the Salcombe Harbour Board held on
17 September 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to inclusion of the following amendment to minute SH.18/18 ‘Water Quality – Verbal Update’ discussion point 7:
‘As a consequence, the organisation recognised the value of local knowledge and was particularly keen to improve dialogue with local authorities and the Harbour Authority.’
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests, they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting
Members were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting, and the following were made:
Cllr Wright, Ms Jones, Mr Marriage and Mr Taylor each declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in all related agenda items by virtue of having moorings or paying harbour dues to the Council. As a result of the Solicitor granting each Board Member a dispensation, they were all able to take part in the debate and vote on any related matters (Minute SH.3/18 above refers); and
Ms Jones declared a potential Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in Item 11: ‘Decision Gateway: Harbour Workshop Development, Batson Quay’ (Minute SH.27/18 below refers) and specifically the employment units aspect of the project. Since the agenda item was focused on the potential new Harbour Workshop proposals, Ms Jones remained in the meeting and took part in the debate and vote thereon.
Public Question Time
a period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with questions from the public
In accordance with the Public Question Time Procedure Rules, the following member of the public addressed the Board:
(a) Mr John Dodwell (Kingsbridge Resident)
Mr Dodwell addressed the Board and informed that he was currently on the waiting list for a Mooring at Kingsbridge Pontoon. In expressing his frustrations as a longstanding local resident, Mr Dodwell was of the view that the current Moorings Policy that was based upon the payment of Council Tax was fundamentally flawed.
In reply, the Vice-Chairman recognised that this was an issue that the Board had wrestled with on numerous occasions and was always one of the main areas of discussion when the Policy was being reviewed. The Vice-Chairman had offered to attend the next meeting of the Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club to discuss this issue further and, whilst the Board considered the current approach to be the most appropriate at this present time, it was frequently reviewed by Members.
Feedback from Harbour Community Forums
to receive verbal reports from Board Members who attend the Harbour Community Forums on behalf of the Board
The Board received verbal update reports from those Members who attended the Harbour Community Forums. The updates were given as follows:
Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary Conservation Forum (SKECF)
The representative provided an update from the last SKECF meeting that was also attended by the Assistant Harbour Master, Moorings and Administration. In so doing, the representative highlighted that:
- the Forum had raised a number of issues on the Harbour Guide;
- an increase in green algae on the Estuary had been identified;
- there being a water discharge issue at Saltstone that had been reported to the Assistant Harbour Master;
- the pontoons at South Pool had been well received. However, a comment had been raised that they were incomplete on the edge;
- dog fouling on the pontoons had been recognised as a cause for concern by the Forum;
- boat speeding on the Estuary remained prevalent;
- the gate at New Bridge was not being re-locked correctly; and
- the Forum had expressed its widespread support and praise for the Harbour Authority and Board.
South Devon & Channel Shellfishermen
No issues were raised.
Kingsbridge and Salcombe Marine Business Forum
The representative advised that early indications were that the Salcombe area was going to experience a particularly busy summer season this year.
Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club (KEBC)
Reference was made to the public question raised by Mr Dodwell (Minute SH.22/18(a) above refers). Whilst the current Moorings Policy was not considered to be perfect, the majority of Members were of the view that the current method of allocations was the only enforceable system currently available. As a result, there was deemed to be no current appetite amongst Members to re-visit this aspect of the Policy. In reply to a question, the Harbour Master confirmed that, at the time a Mooring was being allocated, the office requested that the customer provide a copy of their Council Tax bill as proof of residency.
No issues were raised.
The Board considered a report that updated Members on the income and expenditure variations against the approved budget and forecasted the year-end position.
During the subsequent debate, the following points were raised:-
(a) To reflect the increases in price, the Board noted that the Chain Budget had been increased by £4,000 for 2019/20;
(b) It was confirmed that the Harbour Guide was produced and published in-house by the Council’s Design Team and Digital Mail Room;
(c) Whilst it was still to be finalised, the Harbour Master advised that the Authority was in the process of changing provider that would lead to a healthy saving in terms of its Credit Card Handling Charges;
(d) A Member stated his surprise that, despite an exceptionally busy year, the Authority was only projecting a small surplus of £100. In reply, the Harbour Master informed that, due to a software glitch resulting in a coding error that had only been identified this year, around £20,000 of income relating to 2018/19 had been recognised in 2017/18;
In conclusion, a number of Members wished to put on record their thanks to the Finance officers for delivering such a comprehensive report.
It was then:
That the forecast income and expenditure variations for the 2018/19 Financial Year and the overall projected underspend of £100 (essentially a breakeven position) be noted.
Members were presented with a report that provided an update to the Board on a number of recent issues that had affected the Harbour.
In discussion, reference was made to:-
(a) the Pontoon project. Members were pleased to see that the old pontoons had been cleared away as part of this project;
(b) the Fish Quay project. With regard to the installation of the wooden fendering throughout the whole of the frontage, the Board welcomed this safety feature for users of the Fish Quay;
(c) the Performance Indicators. In welcoming the set of Indicators, Members requested that these be retained and unchanged for the foreseeable future to enable for the Board to be able to analyse and compare performance trends;
(d) the draft Moorings Policy. Members identified a few inconsistences in the wording and language in the draft Policy and it was therefore PROPOSED and SECONDED that:-
‘Council be RECOMMENDED to approve the Moorings Policy (as set out at Appendix 3 of the presented agenda report), subject to delegated authority being given to the Harbour Master, in consultation with the Chairman of the Board, to make any non-substantive amendments prior to publication.’
When put to the vote, this proposal was declared CARRIED and, once finalised, the Policy would be re-circulated to the Board Members;
(e) the Public Conveniences. It was noted that numerous discussions had taken place with local stakeholders over the proposed way forward for the Public Conveniences project and there had been no negative responses received. Members were supportive of the proposed way forward and the hard work and role played by Cllrs Brazil and Pearce and Mr Long to reach this point was praised by the Board;
The Board felt that the Harbour Authority was currently performing to an exceptionally high standard and this was reflected in the amount of positive customer feedback that was being received.
It was then:
1. That the report be noted and endorsed;
2. That, in the event of the Council’s Executive approving the transfer of all six public conveniences to Salcombe Town Council (with effect from 1 October 2019), the Board support the following budgetary principles:
a. For 2019/20, the £5,000 budget pressure be funded from Board Reserves;
b. For 2020/21, the £10,000 budget pressure be built into the Board’s Base Budget; and
c. For 2021/22, the £5,000 budget pressure be built into the Board’s Base Budget; and
(NOTE. Cllrs Wingate and Wright abstained from the vote on recommendation 2 (above) since they were also Members of the Council’s Executive).
Exclusion of Public and Press
- to consider the following resolution to exclude the public and press:-
“That in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local
Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the
meeting during consideration of the following items of business in
order to avoid the likely disclosure to them of exempt information
as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act”;
That in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business as the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act is involved.
Decision Gateway: Harbour Workshop Development, Batson Quay
Members proceeded to consider an exempt report that provided an update on the Batson Workshops project and sought a clear direction of travel from the Board.
In discussion, some Members felt that the Board had been given insufficient time (and detailed information) to be able to reach an informed position on such an important matter at this meeting and it was therefore PROPOSED and SECONDED that:-
‘A Board Workshop on the project be convened before an additional Harbour Board meeting be convened to formally consider this matter further.’
In discussion on this motion, officers advised that the project timescale was already challenging and any potential time delay would result in the anticipated savings from the linking of the two projects not being realised.
(At 4.40pm and, at the request of the proposer and seconder of the motion, the meeting was formally adjourned before it was reconvened at 4.50pm).
Once reconvened, the proposer withdrew his motion but wished to make the following points:
- Whilst recognising that the employment units were ultimately a commercial decision for the Council, the Member asked that the comments made during the discussion by the Head of Assets Practice be formally recorded whereby:
o 50% of the costs of the employment units was to be funded through Section 106 monies; and
o the average rental cost per unit would be affordable for local businesses, but at a market rate (e.g. equating to £5,000 per annum (or in the region of £8 per square foot));
- It was his wish to PROPOSE an amendment to the wording of recommendation 2 in the presented agenda report to read as follows:-
‘That the Board RECOMMEND to the Council to commit to the repayment of the cost of the development (capped at £800,000) which is capped at £36,000 expenditure per year for the lifetime of the loan.’
This amendment was subsequently SECONDED and when put to the vote was declared CARRIED.
- The Member also PROPOSED an additional recommendation to those listed in the presented agenda report that read as follows:-
‘request that a formal update on the Batson project be scheduled on to the agenda for the next Board meeting on 1 April 2019 and, in the meantime, ask that Council Officers provide the Board with a copy of the cost plan from which the Budget was derived.’
This addition was subsequently SECONDED and when put to the vote was declared CARRIED.
It was then:
That the Board:
1. approve the project to develop a new Workshop at Batson Quay for the sole use of the Harbour Authority;
3. note that, in the event of the Board subsequently changing its mind, any abortive costs associated with the projects would need to be funded by the Harbour Authority;