Looe Harbour Commissioners
Report of the Trustees for the Year Ended 18 May 2014
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
OPERATIONAL ITEMS OF INTEREST:
During the year a further £10,611 was invested in improving the CCTV coverage in the Harbour. The system continues to act as a deterrent to crime and provide reassurance to Harbour users.
The local police continue to work with harbour staff to extract footage from the Harbour system to back up footage from the CCTV system run by the Town Council. This has once again, assisted with a number of successful prosecutions within the town.
An anti-dog fouling campaign was launched in the year, with ‘snapshot’ photos extracted from the CCTV system of guilty dog owners being displayed around the Harbour. This approach has dramatically decreased fouling on Harbour property.
Coverage of East Looe has been increased with the installation of four extra cameras as part of the new ‘Pontoon’ Project. The area of surveillance now covers the Lower quay/river (North to South) the lower quay pontoon, boat storage area on the seafront and RNLI slipway.
Next year it is hoped to extend coverage of the main Buller Quay car park in the entrance/war memorial area.
Staff training continues to be provided on a ‘need’ or ‘staff improvement’ basis. Senior staff regularly review the staff training programme to ensure that training is adequate for the work commensurate with their individual status.
Regular meetings continue to be held with port stakeholders and other organisations such as; The Town Council, East and West Looe Town Trusts, The Local Fishermans Protection Association and Local Boat Owners.
Support of local events
Although the Commissioners, due to their constitution, are unable to offer financial support to the majority of local events, they continue to offer non financial support to events such as the International Sailing Championships, Looe Music Festival, Festival by the Sea, Lugger Regatta, Raft Race, Carnival, Christmas/New Year celebrations, May Fayre and a number of other fundraising events.
This year, the staff worked with the local Lions club and Town Council to enhance the two main Christmas events in Looe; The Christmas lights switch on and Santa’s arrival. Both events were very successful and undoubtedly brought additional people in to the town.
The Board also agreed to make an investment in the region of £15,000 during the year for Christmas Lights for Harbour Land/Properties, having not made an expenditure of this nature for 15 years. It was agreed that the effect was ‘spectacular’ and a great boost to the town.
Annual Charge Review
Car park -The usage of the various tariffs in the East Looe Quay Car Park was considered at the annual review. The only changes being to increase the 4hr charge from £3.50 to £4 and remove the 12-hour charge. It was also agreed to bring the summer evening parking concession in line with the winter period (a starting time of 6pm rather than 8pm)
Again, the overnight concessionary charge had proved to be a success, with an increased number of local people parking overnight on the two quayside car parks.
Landing Dues/Fishermen’s Charges – in the main remain unchanged
Property rentals – Increased by 4% with outside seating charges being standardised between East and West Looe.
Diversification of Business
Following approval being given in 2012 for three ‘changes of use’ of harbour owned properties by existing tenants, the expansion/diversification plans have (in the main) been very successful;
The Harbourside Café continues to be a popular venue for visitors and locals alike and now in its second year, has been able to offer employment opportunities to local people.
The conversion of a section of one of the newer processing units into a retail outlet for the sale of wet fish has again proved successful with extra staff being taken on to cover the additional work.
The final change of use approved in 2012/13 ie, a proposed partnership between a local fish merchant and celebrity chef to develop one of the processing units into a fish restaurant, did not materialize and the premises were vacated.
Having invited tenders for Unit 1 New Granite Quay and Unit 2A the Harbour were approached by a food company in September 2013, that wished to take the leases of both units. Unit 2A to be used as a veg/country store, Unit 1 NGQ as a fish restaurant/take away. Expectations being to take on a number of local staff if plans were approved.
An agreement was reached in December 2013, with the company taking leases for four premises in total.
A permanent licence was granted in the year for the seating which had been placed on a trial basis on harbour land outside premises on East Looe quay that was diversifying from clothing into refreshments. The facility proving to be popular with locals and visitors alike.
Further requests for outside seating have been received and are being considered, from two other tenants.
Review of the Operation of Looe Fish Market
Following concerns about the lack of boats landing at the Looe Fish Market, the Board spent much time considering the best ‘way forward’. With consideration to the fact that the three year agreement with the Auction House (Looe Fish Selling) was due to end in March 2014, notice was given to terminate the agreement at this date. The preferred option being a 3 year lease for a ‘Market Operations’ package (to include; the fish auction, market manning, ice making, box control, box washing etc. A proportion of market income being offered as part of the package to offset the associated expenditure.
Prior to tenders being sought (and due to the long standing relationship with Looe Fish Selling Ltd) Looe Fish Selling were approached to determine if they would be interested in taking on such a lease. Looe Fish selling were interested in the package and negotiations began in earnest in July 2013.
Agreement was reached in April 2014 at which time Looe Fish Selling took over the running of Looe Fish Market.
Collection of River Conservancy Fee
The problems associated with the collection of the conservancy fee for boats moored above the bridge were once again considered, with an approach being made to the operator of the moorings (above the bridge) in an attempt to find a way to collect the dues. Assistance was offered from the operator on the condition that boats launching from the top Mill Pool slipway also paid a conservancy/launching fee.
In April 2014, negotiations commenced with Cornwall Council re the operational logistics of the top Mill Pool slipway.
ACHIEVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE:
West Looe Quayside Centre
The Quayside centre was opened on 30th May 2013 and has proved to be a huge success.
The building has been used for a wide range of community events involving a number of groups/organisations from church services to dog shows!
The weekly produce/craft markets have proved very popular, demand for stalls outweighing stalls available.
The pristine visiting Yacht facilities have drawn favourable comments from all with favourable write-ups in two popular yachting journals in August.
The Centre was used at Christmas for the annual lantern procession/Lights switch on and Santa’s grotto, with Christmas stalls (including fund raising stalls run by local charities/clubs) the length of West Looe Quay. Significant investment was made in Christmas Lights for the area by the Commissioners. It has been said that the end result was ‘the best Christmas festivities ever in Looe’
When the centre is not being used for an event, the space is rented by car park tenants, which maintains an income stream for the Harbour.
It is hoped that as the popularity of the centre increases, there will be no need to let the spaces for parking.
During the year, the building won the ‘Best Public Building Award’ in the Cornish LABC awards and was shortlisted for the South West Regional awards which are due to be held in June. Both of which was excellent publicity for the Harbour and the town.
Sardine Factory Re-Development
Following completion of the Quayside Centre project, work commenced on formulating a development plan for the Old Sardine Factory at West Looe.
The project is to re-develop the ‘Sardine Factory’, which is a very old grade 2 listed building on the quayside at West Looe.
The building, originated as a fish cellar in the 1880’s. It was later used as a sardine processing factory and more recently has been used for fishermen’s stores (particularly netters).
The building is now in a poor state of repair and drastic action is required if it is to be saved.
The main aim of the project is to sympathetically refurbish this ‘listed’ building, with new internal layouts to service the needs of both the fishing industry and the community, whilst preserving our local heritage.
Having researched the amenities available in the town and surrounding areas both for locals and visitors alike, together with the needs of Harbour users/tenants, the following scheme was developed;
- Harbour Museum, with small café serving light refreshments. Potential for working museum with boat building, net mending, sail cover making etc.
- Outward Bound Centre – specializing in using the natural environment in/around Looe (kayaking/paddle boarding/guided walks/climbing expeditions etc.
- Climbing Wall – created from the natural rock face within the building, extending from the ground floor to roof level. Viewed at all levels through glass panelled partition.
- 80+ seater fish restaurant – specializing in the famous ‘Looe day caught fish’ accessed by lift or stairs from the Penny land Harbour walk.
- Fishermen’s stores-serviced by platform hoist and external access from Hannafore road
Phase One of the project will cover the full design, development and planning approval of the intended scheme, with Phase Two being the construction and delivery process.
Partial Grant Funding is being sought for Phase 1 at this time.
External Cladding of Market
The cladding work of the fish market, Units 2 & 3 and the Harbour workshop were completed in May 2013 at a cost of £40,000. This will protect the buildings for many years to come with minimal maintenance required.
Replacement of Fog Signal
Following an approach to the Local Fisherman’s Association, it was agreed to replace the Fog Signal (which had been operating on a manual basis) at a cost of £18,000.
Investigations into the possibility of placing solar panels on the roof of the Fish Market commenced in July 2013 with a number of different options still being considered at the year end.
Progress on Previous Applications;
Electronic Auction – Upgrade 2
The balance of EFF Funding of £21,585 was received during the year. The total cost of the project being 33,000 Euros.
West Looe Quayside Centre
An interim EFF claim of £71,614 was made and paid in the year.
The Final EFF claim of £37,360.99 was submitted in March 2014, but had not yet been received as at the 18/05/14.
Electronic Auction – Upgrade 3
Negotiations with The Auction House (Looe Fish Selling Ltd) were concluded in the year with the order for the hardware and software (required for the upgrade) being placed. The cost of the hardware upgrade being in the region of 80,000 Euros for which the Harbour secured a 75% grant (£58,921.50)
The software upgrade being the responsibility of the Auction House.
With a 6 month manufacture/delivery time, the new on-line facility was expected to be operational by the spring of this year but a number of manufacturing delays has meant that this has not happened. The anticipated date is now June 2015.
All expenditure relating to this project was made after the year end, as were associated grant claims.
APPLICATIONS MADE DURING THE YEAR:
Lower Quay Pontoon
The application for 75% FLAG funding on a total project cost of £141,774 was approved in December 2013. The total grant awarded being £106,330.74.
The pontoon was installed in April 2014 and has already proved to be a great asset to the Harbour.
Expenditure in the region of £98k was incurred in the year, none of which was repaid by MMO prior to the year end.
The remaining expenditure of £44k was made in the following financial year, as was the associated claim to MMO.
Sardine Factory Re-Development (Phase 1)
An application was made to FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group) for 100% funding for Phase 1 (Design and Development) of this project. The cost being estimated in the region of £40,000.
It is uncertain whether the application will be successful as there is only minimal FLAG funding available. The funding stream is due to be closed in June 2014.
The total cost for Phase 1 is expected to be in the region of £40k.
FUTURE GRANT APPLICATIONS:
If the Sardine Factory Re-Development (Phase 1) grant application is successful, it is anticipated the work will be completed by January 2015. At this time, funding will be sought for Phase 2 (construction). The cost of Phase 2 is expected to be in the region of £800,000.
OTHER WORK/ITEMS OF INTEREST:
Work to Quay Walls
The quay walls are routinely inspected and remedial work is completed wherever and whenever deemed necessary.
In February 2014 significant damage was sustained to the quay walls at both East and West Looe, as a result of ‘freak’ storms.
It had never been possible to insure the quay walls. The walls are listed structures and works have been carried out sporadically over the years to preserve their integrity. Looe Harbour is one of several ports unable to obtain insurance for this type of structure.
The estimated cost of carrying out necessary repairs to the walls is in excess of £525,000, which exceeds the entire reserves of Looe Harbour Commissioners.
Emergency works were actioned immediately to prevent further degeneration of the quay walls, whilst Government Grant funding was sought towards the cost of the works.
Contracts were tendered for all aspects of the work.
Emergency work continues at the year end, with no assurance that a grant will be available. All other capital projects have been put on hold until it is established whether funding assistance will be available.
The Harbour Authority continues to do everything it can to minimise disruption to the town and particularly businesses operating in the damaged areas of the quay.
General Maintenance/Repair of Harbour Properties
The general maintenance/repair programme continues, with upgrades and improvements being made where necessary.
Restoration of Harbour Records
‘PZ Conservation’ (Penzance) have continued to catalogue and restore the most ‘needy’ Harbour documents.
Harbour Election 2013
The tri-annual Harbour election took place on 17th October 2013, with eleven candidates putting up for 10 seats. The cost of the election was £10,516.
Review of Staff Pension Schemes
The Board funded a review of Staff pension schemes in the year as a result of proposed changes to be introduced by the Government over the next 12 months.
Principal Funding Sources
The Trustees are pleased to report that the charity is funded by the income of the charity from its activities, as set out in Note 3 to the financial statements.
Additional funding has been received to finance further developments from European Fisheries Fund (Port Development/Sustainability)
Due to a number of ongoing Capital projects, no further consideration has been given to a Revision Order for the port.
The Committee formed in the previous year continued their investigations into the possibility of building an Outer Harbour for Looe, with negotiations taking place with a number of outside bodies in a bid to secure the necessary consents to progress the project to the next stage.
In March 2014 a quotation was received from ‘Wallingfords’ for a study of an outer Harbour/flood defence scheme for Looe, at a cost of £19,800 + vat.
Funding for the study was sought from the Environment Agency who had stated that a sum of £100,000 had been set aside for Defra studies to improve the flooding issues in Looe. At the year end, funding was still being pursued from the Environment Agency.
Agreement with Looe Town Council re Gents Toilets
The Harbour were approached in September 2013 by the Town Council, with plans to re-vamp the centrally located gents toilets at East Looe (The toilets being built on Harbour land) At the year end, the plans had not been finalised.
STATEMENT OF TRUSTEES RESPONSIBILITIES
The trustees are responsible for preparing the Report of the Trustees and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice).
The law applicable to charities in England and Wales, the Charities Act 2011, Charity (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 and the provisions of the trust deed requires the trustees to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the charity and of the incoming resources and application of resources, including the income and expenditure, of the charity for that period. In preparing those financial statements, the trustees are required to;
- select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
- observe the methods and principles in the Charity SORP;
- make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
- prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the charity will continue in business.
The trustees are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose, with reasonable accuracy at any time, the financial position of the charity and to enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Charities Act 2011, the Charity (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 and the provisions of the trust deed. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the charity and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.
APPROVED BY THE BOARD AND SIGNED ON ITS BEHALF BY:
S D Bond
To view Looe Harbour Trustees Report please follow the link.
2014 – Trustees Report 2014