AT A MEETING of the RIVER HAMBLE HARBOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE held in the Wellington Room, The Castle, Winchester on Monday 9 June 2003.
Councillor K.B. Estlin (Chairman)
Fareham Borough Council
Mr P. Middleton
River Hamble Berth Holders' Association
Mr H. Knight
River Hamble Boatyard and Marina Operators' Association
Mr C.E. Moody
The Crown Estate
Mr N.R. Jacobson
Mr L.M. Garner
Hamble-le-Rice Parish Council
Councillor R. Elliston
Southern Sea Fisheries District Committee
Mr P. Hill
Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit
Sgt. A. Simpson
The following were in attendance:
Councillor J.V. Bryant - Hampshire County Council
Councillor K. House - Hampshire County Council
M. Denton-Thompson - Assistant Director of Environment
A. Thorne - County Treasurer's Department
T. Clatworthy - Acting Harbour Master
Capt. M. Capon - Designated Person - Port Marine Safety Code
A.R. Knight - Chief Executive's Department
Mrs S. Eighteen - Environment Department
The Minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2002 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
24. CHAIRMAN'S COMMUNICATIONS
The Chairman reported that Captain Exley was still on sick leave and that Mr Clatworthy was now Acting Harbour Master.
25. HARBOUR MASTER'S REPORT
The Committee considered the report of the Harbour Master (Item 2 in the Minute Book) summarising events and activities on the River from December 2002 until May 2003.
The Acting Harbour Master reported on several recent incidents on the River and drew attention to a fault in the engines on the Harbour patrol boats. These faults would be rectified under the three year warranty and arrangements had been put in hand to ensure adequate patrolling of the River would continue. Mr H. Knight questioned the efficiency of gas compared with diesel fuelling of vessels in use by the Harbour Authority. He was advised that the vessels were not gas powered and the
efficiency of petrol engines would be considered for all future acquisitions. Mr Middleton asked whether a comparison could be made between the use of ribs and other craft for patrolling purposes. He was advised that no other vessels were available at present to the Harbour Authority. In answer to questions regarding the incident log at Appendix 1 of the report and whether incidents could be qualified and quantified to show the degree of danger involved in these incidents, it was explained that such recording of detail could not convey the urgency of individual incidents. Mr Clatworthy explained that incident logs were retained at the Harbour Master's office and could be inspected during office hours.
Councillor Elliston sought information regarding the deployment of the oil boom and whether the Harbour Authority was able within its own capability of dealing with a range of incidents. Captain Capon explained the levels of cover which were available and that the Harbour Authority was obliged by law to put in place measures to deal with incidents large or small.
Mr Knight felt that the word "criminal" was inappropriate for use in conjunction with speeding offences on the river as set out in Harbour Master's Direction Number 1. Captain Capon and Sergeant Simpson explained that not to comply with the statutory speed limit on the Hamble would be a criminal offence just as speeding on the road.
In practice, alleged offenders would be approached and the action taken would depend upon the severity of the incident. It was anticipated that Court action would follow only where river users were clearly in breach of speed limits and causing excessive wash or endangering the safety of other river users. Captain Capon reported that the Harbour Master's Direction Number 1 would be issued on the completion of consultation with and accompanying Notice to River Users.
Mr Middleton referred to the changes in specification and phasing of the CCTV project and asked whether the specification would be valid in six month's time. Councillor Estlin pointed out that the report regarding CCTV would go to the Executive Member's Group at an early date.
The removal of the Mercury Piles was raised and information sought as to why these had not been replaced. It was explained that they had been removed on advice and that a Port Hand Mark would be displayed on the remaining pile. Mr Selby drew attention to the fact that this was not included in the Harbour Master's report and various members commented that no consultation had been carried out before the action had been taken. The officers undertook to investigate whether it would be possible to issue a list of conclusions taken by the Executive Member's Group in the period between Advisory Committee meetings. The Royal Yachting Association representative felt that it was important for these piles to be replaced on grounds of safety. It was stated that the piles at Bursledon would remain when development of that area took place.
That the report be noted.
26. RIVER HAMBLE BUDGET 2003/04 AND HARBOUR DUES CHARGE 2004
The Advisory Committee considered the report of the County Treasurer (Item 3 in the Minute Book) presenting the budget for the year 2003/04 and the recommended charges for Harbour Dues for the year January to December 2004.
The budget had been broken down into three areas of activity.
(i) Harbour undertaking which referred to the Harbour Authority functions to be funded from Harbour dues;
(ii) Management of the moorings which comprise the cost of managing the moorings on behalf of the Crown Estate.
(iii) Visitor facilities partnership, the income and expenditure from which was subject to the visitor partnership with the Crown Estate.
Inflation had been allocated at 3.5% of salaries and 2.5% of all other expenditure.
The increase for Harbour Dues for 2004 would be 3.4%.
The amount to be recovered from Harbour dues was £308,000; the amount to be recovered from managing the moorings on behalf of the Crown Estate was £109,100 and the net deficit on the Crown Estate visitor partnership was £30,500. It was explained that the end of year accounts were not yet available.
Concern was expressed at the relationship with the Crown Estate and information was sought as to the agreements which existed between the Harbour Authority and the Crown Estate. Mr Denton-Thompson explained that there was a Management Agreement; and that a partnership agreement existed in letter form only and the relationship would be conducted on a project by project basis when they arose. Mr Knight commented that the Harbour dues appeared to have risen by 25% in the current year (50% since the year 2000). The Chairman advised that future rises in Harbour Dues would seek to confine costs to inflation plus 1% and that this was the first occasion on which this approach had been implemented.
A report was to be made to the next meeting of the Advisory Committee regarding the relationship and funding with the Crown Estate. Mr Middleton was invited to talk to the Treasurer in order to obtain a greater understanding of these matters in detail. He also requested to be included in any review of the visitor's centre and this would enable the Berth Holders Association to have greater knowledge of the emerging partnership with the Crown Estate.
Councillor Elliston sought information regarding whether all Harbour dues had been paid. He also raised an outstanding issue of when Hamble-le-Rice Parish Council might expect payment of back rent in respect of Parish Council held moorings.
That the proposed budget and the proposed charges be noted.
27. DRAFT RIVER HAMBLE MOORING'S PLAN - RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION
The Advisory Committee considered the report of the Director of Environment (Item 4 in the Minute Book) regarding the main issues covered in the summary of consultation responses. Mr Inder advised that the County Council wished to build on the information gained at the consultation exercise, particularly issues relating to safety on the River and ideas for changes.
A working party had been set up to meet on 14 July and would discuss and agree its Terms of Reference. This working party would include the Harbour Authority, Warsash Sailing Club, Stone Pier Yard and Hamble Parish Council, and other interested and relevant parties.
Mr Middleton explained that the River Hamble Mooring Holders' Association felt that the River Hamble Harbour Management Committee should have considered the strategy and should inform the working group. This would be further debated in December.
Mr Knight drew attention to the proposed River bus service in 2003 and sought further information. It was explained that this was an experimental pilot programme, part funded by the Countryside Agency and related to access to the Countryside.
Information was sought regarding costs of dredging and the extent to which the Harbour Authority would be required to contribute. The limit of the Harbour Authority's liability was stated as £12,000. A fuller report would be given to the Management meeting.
That the report be noted and its comments conveyed to the River Hamble Harbour Management Committee.
28. MUNICIPAL PORT REVIEW - UPDATE
The Advisory Committee considered the report of the Director of Environment (Item 5 in the Minute Book) regarding the Municipal Ports Review. Mr Denton-Thompson reviewed the situation and reminded the Committee that he had previously expressed reservations whether the Department for Transport timescales could be achieved. Recent informal information had indicated that further delays would be experienced. The present arrangements which were not satisfactory arose from the County Council's interpretation of the modernisation agenda.
There was now a need to review the situation. The Ports Division of the Department for Transport accepted that the County Council needed to change its administrative arrangements for the Hamble and that a Harbour Revision Order may be the appropriate way forward. It was pointed out that a Harbour Revision Order was an expensive measure. The present arrangements whereby one person (the Executive Member for Environment) was effectively taking decisions were not in line with DFT proposals. The DFT Ports Division also did not support a Harbour Authority of the size of the River Hamble Harbour Management Committee. Consultations would take place with key organisations with an interest in the river and there would be a report to the Executive Member's Group before going to the next Advisory and Management Committees. A further report would be made to the Advisory Committee in December 2003, when a fuller debate would be encouraged.
That the report be noted.
29. OTHER MATTERS
Ms Satchell reported that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust for Marine Archaeology would be undertaking a programme of inter-tidal walks and would dive on wrecks in the Hamble during the summer.
The River Hamble Mooring Holders' Association would welcome regular meetings of stakeholders and felt that this would improve communications and the sharing of information. The River Hamble Marine and Berth Holders' Association wished to pursue the issues relating to safety on the water, with particular reference to rescuing persons in the water and arrangements for firefighting on the water. A risk assessment of emergency services had concluded that the Warsash jetty should be used for evacuation of casualties and that a combined exercise between the Rescue Services would be investigated.
The Royal Yachting Association wished to be informed of decisions before changes were made on the River and enquired whether the Executive Member's conclusions could be displayed on screen. It was explained that the Executive Member's Group was not a public meeting, but officers undertook to investigate the situation. The Chairman understood the aspirations of Members to know more about the detailed working of the Executive Member's Group. He pointed out that any proposal to hold additional meetings of the River Hamble Harbour Advisory Committee would be difficult to justify on terms of cost and effort in officer time. He also pointed out that opportunities for involvement and a closer examination of individual issues relating to the River Hamble had occurred since the inception of the new arrangements. The officers would investigate the possibility of circulating Members with details of non-confidential items for the Executive Member's Group.
30. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Friday 21 November 2003, The Wellington Room, The Castle, Winchester.