PUBLISHED: 12:33 24 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:33 24 August 2015
Exmouth's only working slipway is no longer being policed - after a council enforcer, charged with patrolling the area, resigned.
Belshers Slipway and the nearby Shelly and Cockle beaches are at the centre of a long-running dispute between Marina residents and estuary water users.
Residents say that ‘antisocial behaviour’, including jet skiers launching off the beaches and using their noisy craft just feet away from their homes, is making their lives a misery. But jet skiers say they have a right to use Exmouth’s only slipway, which was there long before the marina development was even dreamt about.
Last month, in a bid to draw a line under the spat, district council bosses asked both sides what they thought of introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) and launched a public consultation.
A PSPO could ban some activities, such as the use of jet skis.
But since the consultation was launched, the tension has escalated.
This week, a part-time district council employee, a civil enforcement officer who had volunteered to keep an eye on the area, handed in his notice - after having his ear ‘forcefully and persistently’ bent by both sides.
East Devon District Council chief executive Mark Williams said: “The use of the slipway and beach has always been difficult to manage, and our officer has won praise for his firm but respectful approach over the last few years.”
“Regrettably, the situation has now become exceptionally difficult to manage as some people, both for and against the proposals, have been forcefully and persistently expressing their views to the officer on duty and this has made his task all but impossible.
“These individuals really need to be taking part in the consultation in the correct way to ensure that their voice is heard by the right people.
“Due to these difficulties, the council has no plans to replace him immediately.”
There are two separate online questionnaires on the East Devon District Council website for both groups to complete by September 7.