Looe Harbour Commissioners must reluctantly advise that a temporary charge has been introduced for all leisure craft wishing to launch from the Millpool Slipway at West Looe.
Looe Harbour Commissioners Chairman, Dave Bond said “Most people will be aware, that Looe Harbour Commissioners (LHC) agreed to take ownership of the Millpool Slipway several years ago, to save it from closure or falling into private hands. Either of these, would have been the equivalent of losing a ‘village green’ and as a maritime community, LHC could not stand by and let that happen. The Harbour Commissioners therefore unanimously agreed to take on the slipway and ensure the continued use by members of the public for leisure use.
As a registered charity that must strive to make each of its departments/operations at least ‘break even’, it was also agreed that a small section of car park would be leased from Cornwall Council, to allow persons using the slipway to park their vehicles and trailers (not for general public parking). This would allow efficient use of the slipway area, whilst also generating a small income for LHC. These monies to be ‘ring fenced’ to offset against the wages of slipway staff and ongoing maintenance of the area. This decision was seen to be both fair and agreeable to all.
A few weeks ago, due to the COVID 19 lockdown and subsequent pandemic controls, the slipway was closed to the public (as were many other public and privately owned slipways in the South West).
Having received many requests from members of the public as to whether they could use the facility, LHC reviewed the Government guidelines and formulated a system which they felt would allow the slipway to remain open to the public, whilst protecting users and members of LHC staff. This involved opening the slipway and associated launching area on a ‘restricted hour’ basis, with a member of LHC staff being present at all times. The plan also included introduction of a ‘one way’ traffic system, strictly controlled by the Slipmaster who would manage vessel launching and recovery under social distancing guidelines.
In order to achieve this, the Pay and Display car parking facility had to be withdrawn and remains closed to this day.
The combination of both car park closure and the need to manage the slipway for the safety of all, has driven LHC’s reluctant decision to introduce a temporary charge that is considered justifiable, reasonable and solely intended to offset some of the additional expenditure currently being incurred by this charity, so that the slip can remain open for public use during this difficult time.
The only alternative to this action, being that the slipway is closed by LHC, until such time when Government guidelines on social distancing are relaxed and the parking charges can be re-instated. This is definitely not what we (LHC) want to happen.
I hope that this clarifies the difficult position that we find ourselves in.”