Row erupts after boat owners along shore at Eastney given seven days to move vessels the council claims are 'abandoned' or 'wrecked'

A ROW has erupted after frustrated boat owners were given just one week to move their vessels from a stretch of shore in Eastney, or face them being taken away by the city council.

Saturday, 14th May 2022, 11:40 am

The beleaguered boat owners, who have used the land at the end of Ferry Road for years, claim the authority is ‘going to war’ with them - after 30 crafts were slapped with ‘abandoned property’ stickers on Wednesday.

They say the majority of boats on the beach are not abandoned, with several still in need of repairs following the effects of Storm Eunice in February before being moved but would ‘be happy’ to direct the council to the legitimately abandoned vessels for disposal.

However, they believe the wider area could be set for some kind of regeneration - with talk of new pontoons being set up along the shore to allow for mooring.

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Pictured - Abandoned boats being removed by Langstone Harbour Board, as part of a separate operation, along with boats whose owners have agreed to scrap. Photos By Alex Shute

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Geoff Garner, who lives in Eastney, said his £7,000 boat wasn’t in a good enough condition to move following the storm.

The 64-year-old said: ‘They’ve just come along and told us we all have to move but not given us enough time.

‘People could be away or in hospital for a week and come back to find their boat has gone. For these people their boats are really important.

Local boat owners are displeased after Portsmouth City Council put 7 day disposal notices onto a large number of boats on Eastney Shore. This operation is separate to the ongoing work being undertaken by Langstone Harbour Board who are removing abandoned boats from the water itself on the back of a minimum 60 day notice period. Photos By Alex Shute

‘I tried talking to the council about it but they just said it has to be gone.

‘There are some abandoned boats, you can clearly tell which ones they are and we’d be happy to help get rid of them.’

His friend, 61-year-old Richard from Cosham, added: ‘I’ve had my boat here for about five years but it was badly damaged in the storm.

‘I can’t move it yet.’

Pictured - Abandoned boats being removed by Langstone Harbour Board, along with boats whose owners have agreed to scrap. Photos By Alex Shute

Another boat owner - who wanted to remain anonymous - said: ‘We paid our harbour dues just last month but now we’re being told we have to leave.

‘It seems like they just want to clear us all out for whatever reason.’

While the council is looking to remove vessels from the land, the Langstone Harbour Board has been working to clear the surrounding waters.

But the board is operating within a 60 day period and said it has been in contact with as many boat owners as possible.

Local boat owners are displeased after Portsmouth City Council put 7 day disposal notices onto a large number of boats on Eastney Shore. Photos By Alex Shute

Deputy harbour master for the board, Rob Dunford, said: ‘It has become an issue that people dump their boats here in the water rather than scrapping them. There are some boats that have been left for three years.

‘I worked here in 2012 and there were 20 abandoned boats. Now there are 120 boats that shouldn’t be here.’

The council did not confirm why the boats are now being removed, but a spokeswoman said: ‘There are a number of abandoned and wrecked boats that have been left on council and harbour land without permission from the land owners along Ferry Road.’

She said notices were issued on boats which were mostly ‘unidentifiable’ but that they have ‘already spoken to some boat owners’ about the deadline.

‘For the others we served a seven day notice for removal, we would expect owners to either remove the boats prior to the notice expiry on May 19 or to get in contact and agree a timeline for removal,’ she said.

Pictured - Geoff Garner, 64, Merchant Seaman (Retired) who has been involved in Eastney beach for around 60 years is upset the Council hasn't consulted boat owners, nor given them time to make alternative arrangements. Photos By Alex Shute

Boat owners can call the council on 023 9268 8284.

Pictured - Abandoned boats being removed by Langstone Harbour Board, along with boats whose owners have agreed to scrap. Photos By Alex Shute