Increasing charges could deter boats from coming to Rye

Boats will be put of from visiting Rye due to increasing harbour charges say Rye Harbour Boat Owners Association.

BOATS will be put of from visiting Rye due to increasing harbour charges say Rye Harbour Boat Owners Association.

The Association is unhappy about a proposed 11.4 percent general increase in charges to moor at Rye for this year.

It follows a 12 percent increase imposed by the Environment Agency last year.

Chairman of the Boat Owners Association Charles Bronsdon said: "The question of charges arose at the November meeting of the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee.

"The charges affect leisure craft, fishermen and commercial shipping.

"The increase is not only for those who visit Rye by boat but includes harbour dues.

"Both myself and Richard Hopper, treasurer of Rye Harbour Sailing Club, vigorously argued against the increase.

"It was pointed out to the Environment Agency that it would make sense to reduce the leisure charges which would then, hopefully, encourage more visitors and more permanent berth holders, thus possibly increasing the revenue, rather than increasing the charges.

"Such increases in charges could make people think twice about either coming to Rye or cause them to move away or give up boating altogether.

"The Committee, whilst approving the increases, noted the strong objections from the leisure boating representatives.

"The Environment Agency plan to take the Committee's opinions, regarding the charges, to Head Office for further discussion.

"The Committee agreed as a whole that continued increases of this magnitude would be unsustainable in the future."

The Boat Owners Association has praised the Environment Agency, however, for dredging the Strand Quay channel.

Mr Bronsdon said: "This was the most monumental event that happened last year and I believe dredging will now happen on a more regular basis.

"We must thank the local Environment Agency team for helping to make this happen, especially as the method used was new and environmentalists had doubts as to whether it would work.

"Their fears were unfounded and the system worked better than any of us had hoped."