Slipway at New Road Bideford ready to be used again following craned boat removal
Torridge District Council have carried out works to restore functionality to one of the slipways providing access to the Torridge estuary for smaller boats, canoes, paddleboards and similar craft. The slipway had been blocked for some months by an abandoned boat that meant only partial access was possible, with a deep drop off into the water. A large tree trunk had also become entangled with the debris and the boat was decaying and filling with silt and mud from the river making it less manoeuvrable.
Officers had previously tried to establish ownership of the boat through social media pleas for information and through contact with the local boating community. Anecdotal feedback suggested that it was owned by someone who didn't have the resources to restore it as they had originally planned but the owner couldn't be traced. Council officers took the decision on health and safety grounds to have the boat removed rather than risk the further breakdown of the structure causing debris and other contaminants to drift into the estuary.
Local contractor and crane operator Nick Sampson were employed for the task and full access has now been restored once again. Harbour officers have restated that to comply with estuary and harbour regulations, boat owners need to ensure that they moor their vessels on a council registered buoy or mooring. They also need to ensure that they secure or tie up their vessel to prevent it escaping its mooring and interfering with other users.
Councillor Bob Hicks - Chair of the Harbour Board said:
"We do our best to trace ownership of vessels as the cost of removal where things have gone wrong shouldn't have to fall on the council and ultimately council tax payers. In this case we were left with no alternative and officers have done a timely job in removing this hazard from the estuary before things got worse. Owners need to ensure they comply with regulations and abide by the rules covering usage of the river so that they don't spoil the enjoyment for others. I'm glad full access to this slipway has now been restored."
26 October 2023