I’d like to reply to Kate Wheller’s letter in the Echo on 24th April suggesting I should focus on the safety of West Bay and Lyme Regis instead of Weymouth Harbour.

Read the letter from Kate Wheller here

Nothing was tangibly done about safety at Custom House Quay in Weymouth until I asked for the Harbour Risk Assessments last year.

I did that because I was so moved when two parents shared the tragedy of losing their son who fell in the harbour and died.

Over the last month or so, Weymouth Town Councillors have had a campaign against these railings.

In my opinion, the campaign so far has been a distinct attempt to distract attention away from the issue – and that issue is that Weymouth Town Councillors have done nothing (that I can see), whilst people have continued to fall in that harbour.

Kate Wheller is also the elected councillor for Rodwell and Wyke Regis on Dorset Council as well as being a town councillor. Until recently, she was Chairman of the Harbours Committee itself.

She said ‘[the] Harbour Board was regularly complimented on its safety standards’. I do find this incredible with so many deaths in this harbour. This is not just about adults who have fallen in after a drink. This is about children who have fallen in too, which is why I am challenging back.

I’m not interested in who’s at fault. I did not and am not suggesting Weymouth Town Council is negligent. But its elected leader has done nothing but carp about Dorset Council’s action to prevent further loss of life.

I personally would prefer not to have these railings. And yes, ideally Dorset Council would have discussed it prior. But how many Dorset Councillors also sit on Weymouth Town Council?

I can’t find an occasion when any Weymouth Town Councillor has been interested to act when people have fallen in and died.

They didn’t act when children fell in. But they jump into action when some railings are put up to save life.

This is why I have responded to this issue. And I think we should all respond and support this work. Because if we don’t, I fear at least one of us will have to suffer the heartbreak of losing a son or daughter again - from falling and drowning in that harbour - like the parents who have suffered already.


West Dorset MP