Unfair fees for all users of harbour

Mr Gaches, in his letter regarding the unfairness in his view of Scarborough harbour fees and dues probably understates the problems within the harbour community.

Scarborough fishermen, also face the same rise in boat dues as indeed the Boat Angling Club and of course the Yacht Club and commercial users. However, therein lies the difference insomuch that Scarborough fishermen’s contributions by virtue of catch values to Scarborough Harbour have already increased in the last financial year by almost 64 per cent, an additional £31,000 over the previous year, and relating almost to £1,000 per boat extra - and that’s only up to the end of November 2012, not even the full financial year! On top of this not insignificant increase in contributions to harbour coffers, the borough council want to increase even further harbour fees to fishermen by an additional 5 per cent.

So, when Cllr Cockerill in his role as portfolio holder, and when challenged by harbour users about the proposed fees increases, his not only arrogant, but offensive response was “pay it or leave the harbour!”

I would therefore ask just where would Cllr Cockerill have Scarborough fishermen go? Uproot their families and move to Bridlington in order to get a fairer deal? Bridlington - where the harbour is run for harbour users, by harbour users is really not such an unattractive option - if it was only feasible. Their (Bridlington) fairer fees and dues reflect the growth that has been proactively encouraged by the harbour commissioners, this also reflects in the ports fortunes. But to actually encourage boat users to relocate their vessels, would also run the risk to Scarborough Council of actually losing revenue, and as such is part of their very own risk matrix when making these judgement calls. Own goal then Cllr Cockerill – well done!

I would therefore ask Cllr Cockerill to state just one item of improvement/positive contribution that he has brought to the port of Scarborough during his tenure as portfolio holder?

Surely, it is in his watch that the harbour has reached this level of decline that both he and the borough council officers speak of? The lack of maintenance, other than ‘crisis maintenance’ in and around the harbour is well known to all harbour users and as such should have been flagged at least three years ago and coupled with a gradual and more palatable increase in fees, if this was thought necessary.

Bob Roberts

Owner F/V ‘Capernaum’ - SH4