Locals are slamming plans to put up security barriers along Weymouth’s harbor wall

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Coastal residents have made a decision to place safety barriers along a harbor wall, claiming the move would end the age-old tradition of eating fish and chips on the coast.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘advised’ city councilors that, starting next week, handrails along the seawall at Custom House Quay in Weymouth, Dorset, should be installed due to concerns about people falling into the water and getting injured.

The 820-foot permanent barrier, a mix of metal railings and chains, stretches from Weymouth’s Town Bridge to the harbor entrance, an area hugely popular with visitors and tourists.

However, the move has since come under fire and calls have been made to reverse the decision, with some claiming that the railings will change ‘the wider aesthetic’ of the area.

Locals have rejected the decision to install safety barriers along the seawall at Custom House Qua in Weymouth, Dorset.  Pictured: Weymouth Harbor

Locals have rejected the decision to install safety barriers along the seawall at Custom House Qua in Weymouth, Dorset. Pictured: Weymouth Harbor

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 'advised' councilors in Weymouth, Dorset, that handrails should be installed due to concerns of people falling into the water

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 'advised' councilors in Weymouth, Dorset, that handrails should be installed due to concerns of people falling into the water

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘advised’ councilors in Weymouth, Dorset, that handrails should be installed due to concerns of people falling into the water

The 240 meter permanent barrier will extend from the Weymouth City Bridge to the harbor entrance

The 240 meter permanent barrier will extend from the Weymouth City Bridge to the harbor entrance

The 240 meter permanent barrier will extend from the Weymouth City Bridge to the harbor entrance

The barrier will be installed in the same part of the harbor from which ‘Little Ships’ left for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and where soldiers embarked on landing craft for D-Day in 1944.

It gives port users access to boats, but prevents people from sitting on the low seawall to eat fish and chips and ice cream or enjoy a pint of beer in the summer sun.

Families that hang fishing lines over the wall to catch crabs will also be affected by the new safety feature.

Following the decision, an online petition to prevent the barrier from being installed by more than 1,500 people has been signed.

The petition claims the barrier will “ have a knock-on effect on small businesses on the port side. ” accuses city officials of failing to consult the public on the plan, which is part of a wider project to regenerate the quay area.

Tash Luther, a local who launched the petition, said: ‘The council has not consulted the wider community about the aesthetic changes they are making to the port and is using health safety as a justification for the change.

However, the wall is already considerably higher at the end of the city bridge, which begs the question: why is that necessary for this part of the harbor wall? Which H&S measures are not being complied with here, which are for the rest of the port?

‘Placing these railings changes the broader aesthetic of the harbor. It prevents families / tourists and passers-by from sitting on the harbor wall to enjoy the beautiful harbor that Weymouth has to offer.

‘That has consequences for the small companies on the port side. Handrails will also encourage younger children to act irresponsibly – climb or sit on them. ‘

Residents and tourists alike posted messages in support of the petition.

The barrier gives port users access to boats, but prevents people from sitting on the low seawall

The barrier gives port users access to boats, but prevents people from sitting on the low seawall

The barrier gives port users access to boats, but prevents people from sitting on the low seawall

The new safety feature will also affect families who hang fishing lines over the wall to catch crabs

The new safety feature will also affect families who hang fishing lines over the wall to catch crabs

The new safety feature will also affect families who hang fishing lines over the wall to catch crabs

A petition to prevent the barrier from being installed next week has been signed by more than 1,300 people

A petition to prevent the barrier from being installed next week has been signed by more than 1,300 people

A petition to prevent the barrier from being installed next week has been signed by more than 1,300 people

Anthony Lawrence said, ‘So annoying for us holiday makers who want to sit on the harbor wall and enjoy a drink from the pubs.

‘I understand why the municipality wants to do it for security reasons. But I have had pictures taken since I was sitting small on the wall with the bridge in the background. So sad I can’t sit on that wall, enjoy a pint and take a picture of the harbor. ‘

Michael McManus said, “Absolute joke. Nothing better than sitting on the wall with the family with a bag of chips. Just madness. ‘

Diana Warren said, “One of the best things about Weymouth is eating fish and chips on the harbor wall. Handrails will not prevent people from falling in, they will climb in and fall in. ‘

Last year, a man died after falling off the harbor wall and landing on a metal pontoon beneath it.

Despite the efforts of the emergency services, the man, who was pulled unconscious from the water, died on the spot.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Highways, Travel and Environment portfolio holder at Dorset Council, said: “We worked closely with the Weymouth Harbor Master on the installation of these safety railings.

The railings will be installed in the same part of the harbor from which 'Little Ships' left for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940

The railings will be installed in the same part of the harbor from which 'Little Ships' left for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940

The railings will be installed in the same part of the harbor from which ‘Little Ships’ left for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940

‘With the ever-increasing appeal of the port area, we had to tackle the risk of injuring people by falling into the deep harbor water or onto one of the pontoons.’

A council spokesperson added: ‘The option for railings along Custom House Quay was not part of the recent port investigation as this is an independent security work.

“Although the placement of railings has not been discussed with the general public, discussions have taken place with various stakeholders within the Custom House Quay area.”