Home > NewsUpdate 4th July 2018

Update 4th July 2018

Posted by RichardMartin on July 5, 2018

Egremont’s return to Salcombe is now in doubt.

It with great sadness that I have to report news that the Egremont’s return to Salcombe is now very uncertain because the funders for the project do not have sufficient confidence that Salcombe Harbour Board (SHB)  will renew the ship’s annual mooring licence and that everything we propose to do is not welcome. They are not prepared to inject £2m into a 30 year life extension project if the ship is at risk of having no home now or at any point in the future.

The SHB recently wrote “The Harbour Board has a duty to ensure that it protects it and the Council from any avoidable risk and future liabilities”. The perceived risk is that the activities on the ship might be unacceptable, the operation may not comply with regulations or the operation might fail and the SHB would be left with the liability for disposal costs. Our plan for Egremont is essentially no different to what has been done on board for the last 40 years, it will just be busy like it used to be. We have to comply with all regulations as normal. We will give a financial bond to ensure there are funds available to move the ship if the operation fails.

Within reason there is nothing that the Egremont project team would not amend/change to ensure the operation of the ship fits alongside the objectives of the SHB and is a compliment to Salcombe. This co-operative and compliant approach seems to fall on deaf ears leaving everyone wondering why?

Why has this happened to an operation that has been moored in Salcombe for 40 years which now has/ had a fully funded business model to ensure its survival for the next 40 years and bring significant benefits to so many people and businesses being threatened with eviction from the harbour?

 

What is the business model?

Put simply it is to re-start the RYA residential sailing school for all children, especially those with special needs or from disadvantaged backgrounds, and to create a hospitality venue which will enhance the quality of the residential base and provide reliable revenue  to support the running of the ship in the future.(Please follow this link to see the briefing document given to SHB)

For the ship and the sailing operation to survive it needs to have additional revenue. The planned overall operation has been carefully scaled to be just big enough to generate the right level of income to deliver this.

All of the planned activities and uses for the ship are essentially no different to what has been happening aboard for decades. The ship used to cater for well over a hundred people every day in high season, had a weddings licence, provided B&B accommodation, had two bars etc etc.

The outcome of the plan will be the preservation of a registered national historic ship, the preservation of ICC, the re-starting of the very popular dinghy sailing operation, a restaurant and bar with upgraded en suite cabins on the upper deck.

 

Why have the funders lost confidence?

 

Background - The moorings in Salcombe Harbour are renewable annually and the Salcombe Harbour Board (SHB) can refuse to renew any moorings licence if they so choose. Everyone knows this but the point has been made so forcefully that it has become a big issue.

 

The funders of the project now firmly believe that the SHB intend to refuse the ship entry back to Salcombe Harbour no matter what we all do or say. With this lack of goodwill and negativity there can be no trust and therefore no confidence.

 

Nobody can understand why the goodwill of the funders and all the supporters is not being matched by goodwill and encouragement from SHB.

 

Current situation

 

The ship is lying alongside at Sharpness Dock, no major work has been done to her since November 2016. Sharpness Dockyard have done a lot of unpaid work on the hull and superstructure and are keeping the ship safe. Words can’t express how grateful we all are to the dockyard for their support  and their patience.

 

The project is now on the brink of collapse because the funding has been withdrawn. If no solution is found quickly then the ship is at grave risk of being scrapped, the charity will be dead and Salcombe will lose a unique opportunity for a very special venue.

 

In spite of a plea from the Trust, SHB have refused to change their attitude towards the project or give “a particular set of conditions under which Members (of the board) would be happy for the return of Egremont.” .

 

Everyone should be very clear that the real core of the problem is all to do with a lack of goodwill and encouragement for this project to succeed.

 

There is growing disquiet that the tremendous benefits of the return of Egremont will be lost forever. It appears that SHB can reach their own decisions on matters that significantly impact on literally thousands of people without any public consultation.

 

The funders have left the door open saying that if there is a genuine change of attitude towards this project and a preparedness to reach a workable way forward then they will happily restart discussions. Their wish is to help facilitate and fund a very worthwhile venture for the benefit of everyone.

 

 

Deadline - The SHB  meets on 16th July to formally decide on Egremont’s moorings  and therefore Egremont’s future, we have between now and then to do something.

 

What can be done to help prevent such a tragedy?

 

We need to find a way to change the conversation and bring all parties back to the table to discuss a secure way forward that will give the funding team the confidence to proceed. This will need a  willingness by SHB to recognise the exceptional nature and benefits of this project and to put their genuine support behind it.

 

The only way forward that we can think of is for all the Egremont supporters to contact either the Trust richard.martin@egremonttrust.org.uk or Salcombe Harbour Board through the Salcombe Harbour Office   salcombe.harbour@southhams.gov.uk and express your views in your own way.

 

A simple email to the Trust just expressing your support for Egremont’s return to Salcombe will in itself help.

 

As many people as possible need to know what’s at stake here so please pass the word and ask for help. If we lose this opportunity there will not be another way forward and Salcombe will lose Egremont for ever.

 

We want to encourage the SHB to look again at the project with an open mind. We all hope that Salcombe Harbour Board will do what is necessary to create the goodwill and support which will put this very special project back on track.

 

 

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