SLDC 'treating Windermere as a cash cow' claim operators as price increases due to come in

WINDERMERE users are calling on South Lakeland District Council to invest more of the £1 million-plus it charges from the lake every year.

SLDC income from Windermere is to top £1.1 million for the first time in 2014/15 after the Lib Dem run authority agreed a hike in fees and charges totalling £70,000.

One senior tourism operator accused it of ‘milking Windermere like a cow’ but the authority says it is investing in the lake and that the revenue generated from it helps prevent council tax rises and funds services.

Boat owners needing moorings will have to pay more from April as will tourism businesses and private householders whose jetties ‘encroach’ on bed of the lake, which is owned by SLDC.

The authority said it spends £434,000 providing Lake services every year including the Ferry Nab slipway and boathouse, public jetties, maintaining navigation hazard marks, and the Lake Wardens.

This year it expects to make a total of £1,157,000 from fees and charges.

Carole Shaw, chairs the Windermere Lake User Forum, which represents sailors, paddlecraft, outdoor activity centres and marinas on the lake.

Mrs Shaw spoke out against the increases at the council’s Lake Administration Committee, which backed the rises.

She told councillors the proposed increases could have ‘negative repercussions’ on local business.

“We would like to see some investment going back into the lake,” said Mrs Shaw. “They are taking more again this year and we cannot seem to get movement to improve the facilities.

“If we want to make this a world class visitor attraction then there needs to be better integrated management between SLDC and the Lake District National Park Authority.”

She added: “Moorings are going up by two per cent which means anyone who has a concrete block on the bed of the lake with a white buoy attached to it by a chain to allow them to moor their boat, is already charged around £600 to £800 a year.”

Council records shows that permanent moorings on Windermere fell last year - from a high of 861 back in 2010, to just 777 in 2013.

The forum’s call was backed by Nigel Wilkinson, director of South Lakeland’s largest tourism enterprise, Windermere Lake Cruises.

“If SLDC reinvested more of what generated from the lake in terms of enhancing services, then perhaps people would have more sympathy,” said Mr Wilkinson.

“In a time where consumers are feeling the squeeze on disposal income, above RPI (Retail Price Index) increases for encroachment are not helpful - especially to those who do not want to pass that on in the prices they charge.”

And Jonathan Denby, a hotel owner and president of the Lakes Hospitality Association which represents over 500 tourism businesses said the price increases were 'depressing'.

“They have to give us more back,” said Mr Denby. “What we are unfortunately seeing is a deterioration of tourism-related things the council is involved in. It’s more difficult to park, car parking charges are high, the signage is in a state and our roads are in a poor condition. It’s depressing to hear of tourism and Windermere being treated as a cow to be milked.”

Officers have warned that a risk of increasing fees could mean they go ‘beyond a level that the majority of users find acceptable and user levels fall.’

The cost of private encroachment rises from £22.88 to £24.71 per sq metre, while commercial encroachment rises from £41.60 to £44.93 psqm - an eight per cent rise.

There will also be a two per cent increase on moorings and winter boat storage.

Visitors to the lake needing parking permits or those parking all day when launching boats, will also have to dig deeper. Annual parking permits for Ferry Nab will go up from 145 to £150.

David Sykes, SLDC Director People and Places said because financial support from government was reducing, raising revenue was ‘vital’ to support services and ‘ease the burden’ for council taxpayers.

SLDC expects to agree a freeze in the slice it takes from the council tax when it sets its budget in February.

And Mr Sykes said the authority was not just taking from the lake but putting money back in.

He said:  “We will work with partners to continue to enhance facilities for lake users. That includes enabling new waterbus jetties at Bark Barn and Wray Castle, as part of the Go Lakes Travel programme.

“The council will take on the maintenance and management of the Bark Barn jetty, a major new project to improve access to the western shore. It is making a £200,000-grant towards the Windermere Steamboat Museum redevelopment.

“We have also budgeted £250,000 towards improving the lake shore experience at Waterhead. At Ferry Nab the council is considering options for bringing forward redevelopment of the site, including new public jetties, moorings and facilities for lake-users.”

He added: “The council has a duty to achieve best value from its assets.”

Steve Gaskell, park management lead for the Lake District National Park, said it spent £137,000 on providing a Lake Patrol team and £52,000 administering the boat registration scheme and had two car parks at Waterhead and Beech Hill.

Comments (9)

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4:31pm Wed 29 Jan 14

snuggle-bunny says...

sldc treat everything and everybodyas a cash cow or potential cash cow
sldc treat everything and everybodyas a cash cow or potential cash cow snuggle-bunny

4:49pm Wed 29 Jan 14

magical trevor says...

An expected reaction from Snuggle-bunny....don
't you and your moaning cronies have anything else, better or even constructive to say.

Businesses using Windermere to make a living from can afford a few pounds increase here and there. The rest of us shouldn't have to fund their enterprises through our council tax. £66.66 per month to moor a boat on Windermere....bargai
n!!!! What a load of moaning cobblers honestly. You'd think they were being charged hundreds or thousands of pounds extra for goodness sake.

And when will intelligent people learn to differentiate between SLDC and CCC.....bleating about nothing if you ask me.
An expected reaction from Snuggle-bunny....don 't you and your moaning cronies have anything else, better or even constructive to say. Businesses using Windermere to make a living from can afford a few pounds increase here and there. The rest of us shouldn't have to fund their enterprises through our council tax. £66.66 per month to moor a boat on Windermere....bargai n!!!! What a load of moaning cobblers honestly. You'd think they were being charged hundreds or thousands of pounds extra for goodness sake. And when will intelligent people learn to differentiate between SLDC and CCC.....bleating about nothing if you ask me. magical trevor

6:06pm Wed 29 Jan 14

JokeFactory says...

well said snuggle bunny speaking for us all! question for magical trevor - where do you work..........
well said snuggle bunny speaking for us all! question for magical trevor - where do you work.......... JokeFactory

6:26pm Wed 29 Jan 14

dancer58 says...

well the 10 mph ban has finally come home to haunt you , if you had not "kicked off" other lake users so quickly , and sought other solutions to lake problems may just may be these hikes would not be taking place
well the 10 mph ban has finally come home to haunt you , if you had not "kicked off" other lake users so quickly , and sought other solutions to lake problems may just may be these hikes would not be taking place dancer58

7:23pm Wed 29 Jan 14

magical trevor says...

I work for a local charity Joke Factory.....what does that have to do with anything ?
I work for a local charity Joke Factory.....what does that have to do with anything ? magical trevor

5:23pm Thu 30 Jan 14

snuggle-bunny says...

typical reaction from magical Trevor. We know who's side he's on. Just out of curiosity what do people actually get in return for the mooring fee. Your turn now Trev- old boy
typical reaction from magical Trevor. We know who's side he's on. Just out of curiosity what do people actually get in return for the mooring fee. Your turn now Trev- old boy snuggle-bunny

7:43pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Andrew1980 says...

In my 33 years I am saddened to say that I have been witness to many, many sad, pointless deaths of birds.
Some by my evil windows, tricking birds into thinking they are something that are not. My hateful car that has murdered many a rabbit not to mention birds.

However these two examples pail into insignificance when compared to the veritable genocide being committed but the cats on my area.

So simply ban the wind farms, the windows, the cars and mostly the cats.

SAVE THE BIRDS

Thank you.
In my 33 years I am saddened to say that I have been witness to many, many sad, pointless deaths of birds. Some by my evil windows, tricking birds into thinking they are something that are not. My hateful car that has murdered many a rabbit not to mention birds. However these two examples pail into insignificance when compared to the veritable genocide being committed but the cats on my area. So simply ban the wind farms, the windows, the cars and mostly the cats. SAVE THE BIRDS Thank you. Andrew1980

5:55pm Sun 2 Feb 14

jazzactivist says...

I can't see a problem with charging people who use Windermere, or any of the other lakes, a high fee. They are in a privileged position just for being able to afford to boat / do watersports on the lake, and even more so if they also have their own mooring or access to the shore. These activities also affect the environment in different ways - usually not for the better. It seems reasonable to me to expect people to pay for luxuries.
I can't see a problem with charging people who use Windermere, or any of the other lakes, a high fee. They are in a privileged position just for being able to afford to boat / do watersports on the lake, and even more so if they also have their own mooring or access to the shore. These activities also affect the environment in different ways - usually not for the better. It seems reasonable to me to expect people to pay for luxuries. jazzactivist

9:46pm Tue 4 Feb 14

shirtbox2003 says...

Anyone who can afford a house with a jetty or to put a boat on Windermere should be expected to pay enough.it costs at least £2500 a year to keep a caravan on a site up here,rising to over £6000 a year on some sites depending on the type of caravan.So lets be realistic.
Anyone who can afford a house with a jetty or to put a boat on Windermere should be expected to pay enough.it costs at least £2500 a year to keep a caravan on a site up here,rising to over £6000 a year on some sites depending on the type of caravan.So lets be realistic. shirtbox2003

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