This letter is not designed to support or condemn the railings on Custom House Quay but to correct the comments made in a letter from Chris Loder, MP for West Dorset (April 22).

Cllr David Harris simply stated (April 6) that neither Weymouth Town Council nor local ward members were informed of the proposal – an action not conducive to openness and transparency or to partnership working.

Mr Loder suggests that the action was forced upon Dorset Council by acts of neglect over many years of Weymouth Town Council.

Weymouth Town Council is not now and has not for some hundreds of years been responsible for Weymouth Harbour. During the time of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council the Harbour Committee and later the Harbour Board looked frequently at the question of safety around the harbour.

Undertaking regular risk assessments, seeking advice from outside bodies including the Health and Safety Executive and despite the very tragic, but infrequent, loss of life decided that on balance enclosing the harbour with railings would not solve that problem. It would also seriously impact on the working life of those who make their living in and on the water around the harbour.

On no occasion were W&PBC or its Harbour Board found to be negligent following inquiries into incidents. The responsibility for the harbours of Dorset now falls to Dorset Council, they have not been forced to take on this ‘onerous’ task, they chose to do so.

They are not picking up the pieces from a negligent Weymouth Town Council.

Weymouth Borough Council’s Harbour Board was regularly complimented on its safety standards. Its policies and codes seen as an exemplar for other harbours. Of course, it is quite right for Mr Loder to take up the concerns of his constituents and I share with him the sadness in the loss of any life.

However, perhaps he should address his time to the large areas of open quayside at West Bay and Lyme Regis both in West Dorset where occasionally people fall in the water.

Unless and until people understand that our harbours and the sea whilst looking beautiful should be treated with due care and respect accidents will continue to happen.


Wyke Regis