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Better news for Maldon’s barge operators

The previous post was about the proposal from Maldon Council to increase mooring fees on Hythe Quay by 94%.

Good news today that last night’s meeting of the Council changed its view after so many people expressed their opinion that it would mean the end for Thames sailing barges at Maldon.   The following message from Topsail Charters outlines what happened at that meeting and at a gathering this morning of barge operators.

“Mooring fee hike proposal could lead to ‘catastrophe’ for Hythe Quay’s iconic barges”

“The barge operators had a meeting this morning to discuss last night’s decision, and in general we are pleased with the outcome.

“This was that fees would increase by 10% from the beginning of April and that several meetings would take place this year before any future increases.

“We are particularly pleased that the Council has agreed to discuss a longer term plan for Hythe Quay, together with any potential fee increases, and are pleased that it recognizes us as a ‘heritage asset’.   We look forward to working closely with the Council in the future to promote Maldon, its barges and the Quay.

“There was great local support at the meeting from the local waterfront, especially Maldon Yacht Club, and I am sure that impressed Councillors.    We wish the Club well with its dealings with the Council.

“We greatly appreciate all the support we have been shown especially from the newly-formed Maldon and Heybridge Heritage Harbour Group who are working hard to gain greater recognition for Maldon’s important Maritime Heritage.    You will no doubt hear more from the Group in the future.

“The Group instigated an e-petition which had 300 signatures in the first two days.    We would urge people still to sign the petition, which can be found on the Maldon District Council website under ‘petitions’ heading.    By signing the Heritage Harbour Group’s petition members of the public will give the Council an indication of how much support there is for our Maritime Heritage.

“Obviously there is still work to be done for the future.    We recognize that these are challenging financial times for all local authorities, and while the proposed increases would have been crippling for the barges we feel certain we can continue to make a contribution in other ways to the town.    We look forward to working with the Council to build a sustainable future for Maldon’s Past.

Topsail Charters Team”

This is excellent news, but also something which will need close watching for the future.

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