4x4 slipway congestion wrangle grows

PUBLISHED: 16:34 24 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:33 10 June 2010

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24: CONCERNS about safety and organisation still threaten to hold back new boating facilities in Exmouth - but town councillors have suggested a compromise. Exmouth Quay residents are calling for byelaws to curb vehicle use on Shelly beach focusing on 4x4s of

CONCERNS about safety and organisation still threaten to hold back new boating facilities in Exmouth - but town councillors have suggested a compromise.Exmouth Quay residents are calling for byelaws to curb vehicle use on Shelly beach focusing on 4x4s often left parked for long stretches while boaters hit the water.Shelly Beach is not included in EDDC restrictions but on Monday town councillors suggested 'tweaking' existing bye-laws.The suggestion was made after District Councillors authorised a feasibility study into a new launching structure at the estuary at last week's meeting of EDDC's executive.Devon County Council will now be asked to look into rights of way at Belsher's slipway - the most popular launch point.Cllr Geoff Chamberlain warned at the executive that rights of way restrictions at Belsher's would curtail boating; and a Queen's Drive slipway would not help launches and could cause traffic chaos at the seafront: "As a small boat user myself ,I've had to make do with the awful facilities at Mamhead slipway," he added. "Many come in there to find raging currents making it impossible to retrieve their boat. We have already been looking for another site, but the further you get [east] down the estuary you find even rougher seas."Belsher's is always relatively safe. I regard it as very, very important to boating."Speaking in a public session, RNLI coxswain and boat user Tim Mock called for new facilities': "The local authority has not addressed the issue of a public slipway, and this is what has happened. I can't condone the carry on with the 4x4s but it is to be expected if you have all the boaters in one place."The way forward is to look at an alternative site and get this underway before you do anything too drastic with the current slipway."District and County member Eileen Wragg said the slipway was important to commercial boaters and the inshore lifeboat as well as pleasure seekers. After a meeting with the County Council legal team to discuss rights of way, Cllr Wragg reported: "It is highly unlikely residents would want to see [Belsher's] downgraded to pedestrian-only. I believe byelaws should be introduced; there can be up to a dozen 4x4s on the beach at any one time. I also have in mind restricted use, something like a bollard with keys for slipway users."The executive board backed an investigation, Cllr Jill Elson declaring: "We should have a new slipway. It is a no-bathing beach and we could look to Queens Drive to provide full facilities.

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