Agenda item

Bristol City Harbour Review


Gemma Dando, Service Manager - Neighbourhood Management took the meeting through the published Bristol City Docks Review Project information.  Gemma explained that a review is to be undertaken on how the docks operate; she was seeking Members views on where the focus should be and where they thought any ‘red lines’ should be drawn.  The following points were raised during the discussions:


  • It currently costs the council approx. 1M to run the docks and the aim is to reduce that figure
  • It was a Member’s view that the harbour should be cost neutral but the process for getting there could be very controversial. It was thought to be good they were bench marking with other areas.  It was requested that both the scrutiny commission and the public were continually kept on board throughout the process.
  • It was stated that there are a number of commercial organisations currently making a lot of money from the harbour.  Conversely a Member said that BCC needed to take care that it didn’t price other smaller organisations out of the picture.
  • It was confirmed that the project would soon be moved under Penny Fell - Director of Commercialisation (Resources Directorate).
  • Another Member asked what sort of percentage difference having improved licenses might achieve.  It was thought to be possible that at least 50% of the harbour costs could be recouped this way.  It was agreed that more information on the figures would be provided to Members ACTION: Officers to provide Members with further information about how costs savings could be achieved via increased licence fees.
  • It was said that Bristol City Council have received a number of requests from the Department for Transport for an update on the progress towards being moved to a “Trust Port” status.  Some Members suggested that there were a number other options to look into other than a harbour ‘trust’.  Reservations were expressed about the Council potentially losing control of the harbour. 
  • A Member commented that the harbour is part of the Cities transport network and that this should be seen as an opportunity to enhance this aspect of it.
  • It was said there are a number of harbour related projects such as the harbour walls. Some of which are infrastructure and sit in the Growth and Regeneration directorate and some are now in Resources directorate.
  • The Chair said she thought the Council needed to exercise caution; heavy regulation of the harbour must not take its charm away.  It was also said that the Harbourside is a diverse community that shouldn’t be damaged for the sake of a few pounds and that BCC should resist doing only what the Government wanted it to do. 
  • Forthcoming Harbour Consultation: The Council is in contact with some groups and those who have moorings and so will engage with them to find out how they want to be involved.  It was agreed that Members would be kept informed with the consultation process.  ACTION: Officers said they would send the draft consultation to Members. 
  • Gemma finished by saying that the project was about how people see the harbour in future, what aspirations there are to support it and to generate some money from it.  She hadn’t intended it to be about trusts specifically and so this feedback was helpful and would be taken on board.  She did however make the point that it is classified as a community not residential harbour and it therefore doesn’t have the correct policy framework guiding it.  There is a lot of best practice on this that could be shared with Members if they wanted. 
  • It was agreed that this item would come back to the Commission again before it went to Cabinet in May or June 2019.  ACTION: to be agreed between Members and Officers when in 2019 the appropriate time is for this item to come back to the Commission. 


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