The Maldon and Heybridge Harbour Heritage Group (MHHHG) know
that Maldon District Council (MDC) is intending to increase the
wharfage and car parking fees for barges berthed on the Hythe. This
means that each barge will have to fund a joint berthing and car
parking increase of 94%. As the current cost of berthing, car
parking and maintaining the barges is significant, the MHHHG knows
that MDCs intention is not only disappointing to their owners, and
to the volunteers who keep the barges sailable and attractive to
Maldon’s citizens and visitors; it is creating concern about
the barges’ future in Maldon. It is clear that MDC has
undervalued the impact of the barges’ living legacy. In the
Netherlands, historic vessels berthed and visiting Dutch Heritage
Harbours pay nothing; their contribution to the quality of life to
citizens and visitors which raises senses of well-being, identity
and financial benefit to the harbours is fully recognised by their
local and central governments.
Assessment by the MHHHG has resulted in their understanding that MDC’s intention is purely commercial because they have a substantial debt. Despite the barge-owners presenting at a number of meetings with MDC their arguments based on the iconic nature of the barges and Hythe Quay, the economic benefit to the town and the importance of our heritage, there has only been a minor movement of the Council’s intention; instead of an immediate increase of 100%, it is to be staggered over three years to reach 94%. They argue that if the barges have to leave there will be public uproar, but the Council will find other ways of using the Hythe to reduce the deficit they, the Council, have created. To the MHHHG it is most concerning what these ‘other ways’ might be.
If one looks on the Visit Maldon website, the dominating photo is of the Hythe’s heritage of barges, boats and buildings. Wikipedia states that ‘Maldon's Hythe Quay is the residence of a number of Thames sailing barges, these are among the last cargo vessels in the world still operating under sail...’ MDC’s logo is a barge. The MHHHG’s conclusion is that the Council’s approach to raising the wharfage and car parking fees on the Hythe is narrow, short sighted and dominated by a short term financial perspective.
Started by: Andrea Raiker (Maldon and Heybridge Heritage Harbour Group)
This ePetition ran from 25/01/2020 to 23/04/2020 and has now finished.
1348 people signed this ePetition.