HARBOUR fees in Weymouth could rise by 7.5% in the coming year – while West Bay and Lyme Regis are expected to go up by 5%.

Harbourmaster Ed Carter says an analysis has shown that Weymouth’s fees are low when compared to south west harbours offering similar facilities and said that when there has been fee increases for recreational users in the past they had often been below inflation and modest.

He told the Dorset Council harbours advisory committee that the harbour also needed to ensure enough income to make necessary improvements for harbour users and visitors, including the replacement of many of the pontoons.

“Our investment is key to developing income streams and our contribution to the local economy,” he said.

Mr Carter said one of the exceptions to the 7.5% proposal would be for commercial fees where no increase at all is being proposed.

He told the meeting that generally the harbour was doing well and remained popular with a waiting list for spaces to accommodate larger vessels, although demand from the owners of smaller boats had been declining.

At West Bay and Lyme Regis harbour master James Radcliffe is asking for a general 5% increase in fees with no increase for visiting vessels, launch and slipway fees.

He said he would also be asking for West Bay to see an increase in all-day quayside car parking from £12 to £15 and a 10 per cent increase in quayside parking for commercial fishermen.

All of the changes will need to approval of Dorset Council’s Cabinet before going to a full council meeting for a final decision.