Antisocial order could mean banning boats and slipway use

PUBLISHED: 11:29 06 August 2015

Public Space Protection Order

Public Space Protection Order

Archant

There are fears that moves to stop antisocial behaviour could end up banning boats from a beach - and Exmouth's only functioning slipway.

District bosses are consulting on whether to impose a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on Belshers Slipway and nearby Shelley Beach.

Exmouth Quay Residents’ Association says that for years residents have been blighted by a number of irresponsible water users.

They say some jet ski owners are too noisy when launching and recovering their craft from the slipway and the beach. They also object to users driving onto the beach to launch watercraft, such as jet skis, onto the estuary,

As a result, East Devon District Council (EDDC) has set up two online questionnaires: one for those who use Belshers Slipway and Shelly Beach and another for residents.

The results, combined with evidence from police, highways chiefs and councillors, will be used to decide if a PSPO should be drawn up.

If rubberstamped, the order could result in a council-employed enforcement officer patrolling the area.

A PSPO can be used to ban activities, such as the launching of watercraft at the slipway and beach, or it can target certain people or even include multiple restrictions.

The purpose of a PSPO is to make public spaces more welcoming to law-abiding people.

Exmouth small boat owner Ben Jones said: “The slipway was there long before the flats in the marina were.

“If this gets the go-ahead, nobody with a small boat will be allowed to launch from the slipway or beach.”

Jet skier Ian Cudd has lived in Exmouth for 49 years, and said: “I feel victimised. Assume, for a moment, that us jet skiers are the nasty, horrible people like everyone says.

“What about everyone else? You’re not even going to be allowed to use a surfboard on the beach.”

While EDDC has been careful not take one side or another, one of their flyers, delivered to residents, appears to back the concerns of water users.

It reads: “If it (PSPO) were introduced, this would severely restrict the uses of Belshers Slipway and Shelley Beach for the launching, recovery and accessing of watercraft. For example, it might mean they can only be used in an emergency.”

Councillor Eileen Wragg said: “I have some sympathy with the residents; people should be able to enjoy where they live without it being spoilt by the activities of others.

“But they can’t close a slipway; it’s a public access point.”

East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Iain Chubb, said: “Anyone concerned about how the activities they carry out on the slipway or the beach could be affected, should complete our online questionnaire and send their views to the council by September 7. It is our duty to listen to everyone’s comments.”

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