Published: April 16, 2009
150% price hike hits boat users launching from Burnham-On-Sea jetty

Sedgemoor District Council has this week defended its decision to hike up the charge for boat users using Burnham-On-Sea jetty by a whopping 150 per cent.

The annual cost of launch permits for water craft using the town's jetty has leapt from £20 to £50 - much to the anger of frequent users who say the decision will turn visitors away from Burnham.

Ricky Holmes, Chairman of the Burnham-On-Sea Water Users' Forum, which represents dozens of water users in the town said his members are unhappy about the sudden price rise.

He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "There is a lot of concern and we're planning to hold a special meeting of the group to discuss the matter in more detail."

However, Claire Faun, spokeswoman for Sedgemoor District Council, defended the decision, telling Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We currently have a policy of bringing our fees into line with other coastal towns due to our difficult financial position."

"We're trying to keep our charges as low as possible. The big increase has come about due to the charge being so low before."

She added: "The extra money will help us fund beach cleaning services and provide lifeguards, beach wardens and a jetty supervisor."

But the price hike has condemned by water users on Burnham-On-Sea's discussion forums here over recent days.

One user, waterskier, wrote: "I just went into the Tourist Information to purchase a jetty permit for the year and it is now £50, so for that you do not get a slipway as it is not in use, and all Sedgemoor District Council do is check your insurance document and issue you with a permit. This is outrageous! Does Sedgemoor not want boat users to come to Burnham?"

Another forum user, busta, added: "You would have thought they would want to push our town as a resort to come to in this economic climate."

"People coming on hols for a few days or just a week are not going to pay £50 to launch, they will go to cheaper neighbouring towns to launch. They will then be taking their spending families to these other locations as well."

And another boat owner, who asked not to be named, contacted Burnham-On-Sea.com this week, saying: "Given that the jetty is crumbling apart and nothing is being done to make the facilities any better before the autumn, it's disgraceful that the council expects us to pay extra to use it over the summer. We should be getting a rate reduction, not an increase."

Burnham-On-Sea.com was first to report in February that thousands of pounds worth of repairs are to be carried out to the jetty this autumn to stop its condition further deteriorating.

Sedgemoor District Council will begin a restoration project this September – with the overhaul expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

Julian Street, Group Manager of Support Services, told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "We are on track with the project, having recently appointed a project manager and we are now preparing to tender for the work."

"We do not wish to disrupt the summer season with works and our planned timetable envisages that we start work in September and complete it in November."

 




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