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Boat owners hit out at mooring fees

PUBLISHED: 16:19 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:19 06 July 2010

BOAT owners in Oulton Broad are unhappy at the rise in mooring fees imposed by Waveney District Council and have formed a new organisation to monitor future changes.

BOAT owners in Oulton Broad are unhappy at the rise in mooring fees imposed by Waveney District Council and have formed a new organisation to monitor future changes.

The owners were hoping that a reduction in the VAT rate would mean a smaller rise than usual this year but were shocked when the new bills arrived.

“This council, however, has decided in its wisdom that this year they would not be passing on the 2.5pc VAT reduction to us but they would be adding the amount on to our yearly moorings bill.

“Therefore the expected normal 3-4pc yearly increase has jumped to 6.5-7pc,” said Richard Blizard, a spokesman for the boat owners.

“With the loss of so many companies already from our beautiful waterways, both hire and repair businesses, it remains that the local boat owners and cruising lovers that will be maintaining these wonderful broads. So why are we being driven off by these exorbitant price increases?” he said.

The boat owners want to make sure everyone is kept informed of any future developments and have formed themselves into a group known as OBBO - Oulton Broad Boat Owners.

Anyone wanting to make sure their views are heard should email rblizard@live.co.uk

“We will endeavour to raise items at meetings we have arranged with leisure chiefs at Waveney Council and the harbour master at Oulton Broad,” added Mr Blizard.

The council, however, insist that the new mooring fees offer excellent value for money and are “significantly cheaper” than all alternative moorings.

A spokesman said its moorings at Oulton Broad and Beccles are charged at £81.25 per metre per year while other operators charge from £123 to £171 per metre.

“We have to balance the provision of a value for money service with the need to generate income from our facilities to support their maintenance and any future improvements.

“We try to keep the prices down for our customers but that means we have less capital to re-invest in improvements. It is a double-edged sword,” said the council spokesman.

Council officials and boat owners are keen to set up a forum and hold regular meetings.

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