THE first of a joint committee for all south and west Dorset harbours will be held next week.

Held in Dorchester it will include reports from the harbour masters for Lyme Regis, Bridport and Weymouth.

The meeting will also set out its terms of reference and standing orders and is expected to meet four times a year.

It will also decide who will sit on the existing consultative group for Weymouth Harbour.

Two councillors will be appointed to the body, one from the unitary Dorset Council, the other from Weymouth Town Council.

The group was originally set up by the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to ensure there were links in place between the council and users of the harbour, the local community and other organisations with an interest in the port. It provides a forum for discussion but is non-decision making.

One councillor will be appointed to the group from the Dorset Council harbours committee meeting in Dorchester on June 19.

The Weymouth Harbour Consultative Group meets four times a year and the notes of their meetings are brought to the Dorset Council Harbours Committee for information. The chair of the Weymouth Harbour Consultative Group also attends the Harbours Committee as a non-voting member.

Overall the Weymouth group will have 12 members with representatives to oversee the interests training or education groups such as the Sea Cadets Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre, and the Royal Yachting Association; Other representatives include one for the clubs such as sailing, rowing, angling which use the harbour; one from the commercial fishing groups; one representing charter boats; one from boat owners using the council-owned inner harbour and chain and sinker moorings; one from the Dean & Reddyhoff moorings; one from shoreside harbour traders and one from the RNLI.

The group will meet four times a year – interleaved with the Harbours committee. Members can nominate a substitute to attend meetings.

The meetings will be attended by the Weymouth Harbour Master who will attend as an observer and advisor, but has no vote.

The first meeting of the new harbours committee take place in Dorchester on Wednesday next week at 10am and will include verbal reports from the harbour masters of Weymouth, Bridport and Lyme Regis covering staffing, budget, major projects and any ongoing issues.