Sailor told to jettison his jetty

Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

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A SAILOR has been told to remove a pontoon at the back of his house - even though his neighbours are allowed one.

Councillors voted to force Marvin Vincent to remove the jetty even though people on either side of his house in Salterns Lane, Hayling Island, have them.

The pontoon was installed 18 months ago without planning permission, on the south side of My Lord's Pond.

Mr Vincent bought the home because all his family are boaters including his teenage children Jazmin and Elliott.

The 47 year-old driver said he felt putting in a pontoon would make it safer for his family to climb into and out of their boats. His neighbour did not want them to use his in case they hurt themselves.

But Chichester Harbour Conservancy - the organisation which looks after the highly-protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - reported him to Havant Borough Council for breaching planning laws.

Strong objections to the jetty were raised by the Conservancy and Natural England who fear that the jetty could have an ecological impact on the mud flats that it rests on when the tide is out.

Mr Vincent said: 'I suppose they are following the rules that they're governed by but I put it there as a safety precaution. Sometimes you hope that common sense will prevail. When the water rises my jetty rises with it. They have given me three months to take it down.

'But I don't understand why they let my neighbours have one and not us?'

Councillors on the Development Management Committee unanimously agreed to take enforcement action against Mr Vincent if the pontoon is not removed within three months.

But Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray said: 'I feel a little bit sorry for the applicant in a way because he seems to have gone to an architect. I would've thought that some of the issues raised by Natural England would have made it dead in the water, excuse the pun, before it came before us.

'As a council, we have few treasures and one of those is Chichester Harbour and we must protect it.'

A spokesman for the council said the other pontoons on the pond had been there too long for the council to take action against them.

They are fixed above ground level and do no have the same impact on the environment as a floating structure which rests on the mud.