Agenda item

Exeter Port Users Group Update

To receive a verbal update from the Secretary of the Exeter Port Users Group (EPUG)



The Secretary of the Exeter Port Users Group (EPUG), David Rochester attended to provide a verbal update from the Group’s recent meetings and activities:-


  • in noting the HRO process was moving forward, EPUG expressed concern that no mention had been made to the public with regard to the level of Harbour Dues prior to the application.
  • in citing a recent BBC report on the loss of revenue opportunities at Langstone Harbour, who now had only modest mooring charges (£8 a metre) as their only income stream with many vacant moorings remaining. Many River Exe users have discussed the City Council’s intentions over future river management and at what level they expect it to be economically viable. There was very limited commercial revenue and with the addition of high costs associated with the upkeep of the canal, Harbour Dues paid by river owners can only ever cover a fraction of the costs associated with the Port. EPUG had calculated a figure in relation to moorings with a figure of 10,000 metres, with a 10% margin of error and included boats kept in the Canal Basin and Exmouth Dock.
  • the recent Heritage Harbour Festival appeared to be a great success and was a reassuring sign of the city’s interest in its maritime heritage and boating in general. 
  • there was concern about the Council’s plans for the port area, under the Exeter Living and Water Lane projects. With the national interest growth in boating, and more accessible types of water craft for all abilities and ages, EPUG suggested that the development may restrict facilities for the sport and its associated industries. They suggested a likely loss of hard standing, craning and space for crafts-people to set up business would be both regrettable and not compatible with a Heritage port.
  • similarly restricting the space available for kayaking/canoeing and other water-based clubs, was not desirable and it was likely that the new residents of water side housing would be expecting good water-based leisure facilities to go with them. Any plan which curtails space and amenities for that, would reduce the attractiveness of those dwellings for active, fitness minded residents. A modern river/canal living space should be accessible to all as a leisure and sporting area, which also then adds to the attractiveness for visitors, reinforcing the concept of Exeter as a modern, lively, healthy city to live and work in.


The following response was given to Board Members’ questions:-


  • the calculation of the number of boats in the river had included both the river and canal, Exmouth Docks and the Marina and was accurate to within a 10% margin.
  • most UK ports have revenue from commercial traffic. Exeter’s Port had limited commercial revenue and the Canal with its strict maintenance regime was operated at considerable expense.
  • in terms of the protection from the proposed development, the space around the Canal Basin will be important for the clubs to continue to operate. He was aware of the proposed development at Water Lane and how that might encroach on the area available for boats. The Chair added that the planning application was on the Council’s web site for comments and there was the opportunity to comment on that as well as on the Exeter Local Plan. 


Members noted the report and suggested that in future the report be circulated to Members in advance of the meeting.