Vehicle ban is not the right answer

PUBLISHED: 11:49 13 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:11 10 June 2010

In Exmouth there is precious little access to the sea for those who want to launch and recover boats larger than windsurfers or kitesurfers that can be man-handled over soft ground. For heavier craft, the Mamhead, King George, and Belsher's slips are the

In Exmouth there is precious little access to the sea for those who want to launch and recover boats larger than windsurfers or kitesurfers that can be man-handled over soft ground. For heavier craft, the Mamhead, King George, and Belsher's slips are the only feasible options. However, the King George is only useable for about three hours twice a day - and then not on neap tides. The Mamhead slip is often too rough to use when there is anything of a southerly or easterly wind, and doesn't reach the sea for four or five hours a day on Spring tides. Belsher's is the only access point that is both sheltered and useable - albeit with difficulty at times - at all states of tide and wind. No wonder, then, that it sees some use. Closing access to it would simply see more people driving all the way across the beach from The King George on low tides - not a good solution. We attended an EDDC meeting in November 2006 at which a number of improvements were agreed to create better traction, signage and the use of differing colours/textures of finish indicating the "crossing zone" - a bit like a Zebra crossing. These changes were expected to be transformational. Despite much chasing of EDDC, none of the improvements have been made. The area remains "unfinished" though it was promised that the revisions and creation of a sound, stable surface would be made at the same time the sea wall was completed. The relevance of this is that judgments are being made about a facility that is not as good as it could, and should, be. We briefed DCC (Roger Gash) on this issue, August 18, 2008, but have yet to receive an acknowledgment. That brief, with full details, may be requested from the writer, ed@stanex.net. A new facility at the lifeboat station would be useful at times, but can never "supercede" Belsher's as Mr Gash suggests, though it would reduce its use. If it cuts up rough after launching from there - or the Mamhead come to that - without Belsher's one would be trapped "at sea". This slipway must remain freely available for safety reasons. Ed Hughes,For Exe Power Boat and Ski Club, 5 Shelley Court,Exmouth


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