14 years have passed since the Government suggested better ways of managing harbours owned by local authorities.
8 years since it recommended in the Municipal Ports Review of 2006 that ports such as Tenby should change the way they are managed.
Out would go management by the Local Authority. In would come a Harbour Board manned by individuals with the skills and knowledge to run a modern harbour, individuals who will listen to the concerns of harbour users and act upon them.
WHAT HAS PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL DONE SINCE THEN?
It has completely failed to act upon the Government recommendations.
In contrast the vast majority of municipal ports have adopted a Harbour Board.
Many did so in the early and mid-2000’s.
We have previously highlighted the experience of Ilfracombe, a very appropriate model for Tenby, which adopted a Harbour Board in 2007.
Another good example is the River Hamble Harbour Board.
In July 2004 discussions began in Hampshire County Council over the management of the River Hamble.
12 months later after a major public consultation exercise and speedy and effective work by Council officers, the River Hamble Harbour Board came into being.
Note : 12 months.
WHAT IS SO DIFFERENT ABOUT TENBY?
The simple answer is absolutely nothing.
The difference is that in other areas the Local Authority has listened, considered and acted quickly and decisively.
HOW HAVE OTHER AUTHORITIES APPROACHED THE ISSUE?
Quite simply by listening to the Government, considering the experience of other ports and accepting in principle the case for a Harbour Board unless there are good reasons not to do so.
In other words: Why not a Harbour Board?
HOW IS PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL APPROACHING THE ISSUE ?
To use the Council’s own words:
“Officers have begun the process of identifying the key elements that form the basis of defining the vision, purpose and provision of the harbour at Tenby. Subject to legal advice on the efficacy of transferring ownership and / or the management responsibilities, the elements would form the basis of a service specification, to which interested parties would be asked to respond as part of a disposal and / or property marketing exercise “.
There is nothing new and magical about these issues.
Ilfracombe, The River Hamble and many more municipal ports speedily established that a Harbour Revision Order is not needed to adopt a Harbour Board whereas virtually all other options would require one.
The Harbour Revision Order process is extremely costly and lengthy. The infliction of yet more delay and cost would act to the absolute detriment of Harbour users and the local community.
Why reinvent the wheel when the experience of others, who, remember, have followed Government recommendations, has led them overwhelmingly to choose a Harbour Board.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE TENBY HARBOUR AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY?
With a Harbour Authority that is unfit for purpose by its own admission and is likely to remain so for a considerable time.
WHAT IS THE TENBY HARBOUR USERS’ ASSOCIATION DOING?
For a long time we have been seeking a meeting with senior council officers to present the case for a Harbour Board.
We have been consistently rebuffed.
The council say that all possible management options must be identified and considered first before it would be appropriate to meet us.
WHAT DOES TENBY HARBOUR USERS’ ASSOCIATION SAY ?
Enough is enough.
The delay is no longer acceptable.
A considerable disservice is being done to the harbour users and the wider community.
To quote the Municipal Ports Review:
“A Harbour Board would retain a community focus and is therefore a more effective vehicle through which to spark local regeneration and retain community controls. “
WHAT IS TENBY HARBOUR USERS’ ASSOCIATION GOING TO DO?
We shall request, one last time, a meeting with senior Council officers.
If still refused then we shall take this issue to a wider audience.
It is time that the wider public know what is happening.
If necessary we shall call a public meeting to which of course the top officials in the Council will be invited.
TENBY HARBOUR USERS’ ASSOCIATION