Esplanade slipway set to be back in use

PUBLISHED: 14:04 08 December 2011

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A mothballed seafront slipway will be back in use by next summer and a new jet ski zone drawn up - away from the homes of Marina residents.

The plans, pushed by some Exmouth councillors and backed by the district council, will solve years of parking, environmental, wildlife, noise and safety concerns in one fell swoop.

The district council’s Exmouth-based business chief, Councillor Ray Bloxham, and Councillor Eileen Wragg successfully lobbied East Devon chiefs to reinstate - and upgrade - the Harbour View Slipway, opposite the old lifeboat station.

For years, marina residents have complained about noisy jet skis launched from the nearby Belshers Slipway.

Angry residents have also complained that massive trailers carrying jet skis block the slipway, creating parking chaos – but attempts to impose by-laws have come to nothing.

Swimmers using the nearby Shelly Beach have complained that they are scared to go into the water, while conservationists have warned that jet skis disrupt the nearby bird sanctuary and upset the delicate ecology of waterborne plant life.

Cllr Bloxham convinced cabinet colleagues to make the change and said: “This is affordable and ticks all the boxes and is the best option.

“It solves the parking problems, as there is plenty on the seafront for trailers and, because the new jet ski zone is away from the swimming area, it won’t be a danger to swimmers.

“It is away from the bird sanctuary and the Marina and the jet skiers have facilities nearby.

“It solves problems that have been sticking around for years. Exmouth’s jet ski community have been very responsive and very helpful. I can’t praise them enough.”

Cllr Wragg proposed the idea because of concerns about water access when the new life boat station was built: “I felt that the Harbour View was ideal, as there is no bathing area and the increasing problems relating to jet skis launching at Belshers Slipway.

“Hopefully, we’ll have something up and running before the next season.”

Ian Dowell, chairman of the Quay Residents’ Association, said: “We are delighted with the foresight of East Devon District Council.

“During the holidays, when families are on the beach, jet skis have caused mayhem.

“With trailers trundling through out little estate, this has been hugely disruptive.”

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