Agenda item

Ilfracombe Harbour Sea Water Pool

Report by Ilfracombe Harbour Master (attached).


The Committee considered a report by the Harbour Master (circulated previously) regarding Ilfracombe Harbour Sea Water Pool.


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive highlighted the following:


·         In 1999 a new Pier was built in Ilfracombe Harbour which replaced the old dilapidated wooden pier.  An area was left enclosed but derelict between the end of the Pier Car Park and the new East Face Quay.

·         Two drain holes were built into the East Face Quay to enable the area to be drained on the tide.

·         The Sea Water Pool project planned to convert this derelict area into a retained Sea Water pool with the installation of penstock valves over the two drain holes, the clearing of the floor of the old left over pier construction debris and to excavate an area to a deeper depth.

·         The creation of this facility would be of benefit to cold water swimming clubs, local diving clubs and commercial dive training providers, the local and wider community within North Devon and our valued visitors to the area.

·         Ilfracombe and the Council had identified this opportunity as a key skills and employment opportunity to create year round and high quality jobs.  To achieve this development of training opportunities that would fulfil the needs of the Blue Marine sector was needed and utilisation of the Sea Water Pool to conduct sea survival training would provide this.

·         The management of the facility would be fully risk assessed, regularly inspected and managed.

·         The Sea Water Pool would be open to all Harbour users as a safer area to swim when visiting the Harbour which would enhance the green tourism on offer within the locality and enable the Harbour Authority to better manage the whole harbour area as this would give an alternative to swimming in the actual Harbour which is not only against the Harbour bye-laws but also dangerous when swimming amongst moored vessels or swimming out into the path of moving vessels.

·         Advice had been sought from the Council’s insurance underwriters who had confirmed the liability cover would operate as long as the area had been fully risk assessed, regularly inspected and managed.  The Sea Water Pool, if approved, would be incorporated within the Harbour’s Marine Safety Management System and show that the Pool’s infrastructure was included on the daily safety rounds, the area was covered by CCTV, which could be accessed from all the Harbour Teams mobile phones when not in the office, emergency lifesaving equipment would be provided within close proximity to the Sea Water Pool.

·         Appendix A of the report detailed the risk assessment carried out by the Harbour Master.

·         Due to the tidal range the Sea Water Pool would be unusable once the sea water over topped the wall and signage would be in place advising of the closure of the Pool.  The access ladders would be chained across and signage to state the Sea Water Pool was closed.

·         Appendix D of the report showed visuals of how the tide overtops the pool.

·         Jumping from height (known as tombstoning) was not condoned within the Harbours jurisdiction, which included the proposed Sea Water Pool.  Clear signage would be in place at the Sea Water Pool to convey this.

·         The external legal team, Ashfords LLP had confirmed that no Harbour Revision Order was required for this project, however a works licence for the installation of the access ladders was required and this had been granted by the Marine Management Organisation.

·         If approved Teignmouth Maritime Services, a specialist contractor with considerable experience of installations of this nature, would be the approved supplier and installer of the required infrastructure.

·         Funding was in place for this project and had been set aside in the Ilfracombe Harbour Repairs Fund.

·         The estimated cost of the works to create the Sea Water Pool was £24,130.  The majority of this being funded by a grant from the Urban Renewal Quick win project from Devon County Council and a small amount of budget match funding from additional revenue generated in 2022/23 within the Harbour budget.


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive gave the following responses to questions:


·         The Insurers had been fully appraised by the Harbourmaster of the risk assessment and were comfortable with the risk.  The Harbour team would be responsible for the management of the facility.

·         Ashford LLP were a firm of external solicitors. 

·         Before going live with the new facility we would ensure all our legal obligations in terms of safety had been mitigated.

·         The Council’s internal Senior Engineer as well as an external engineer had assessed the integrity of the structure.

·         The Harbour was already a high use area but this facility would help to reduce risk.

·         The tide and use of penstock valves would ensure the water was regularly changed.

·         This facility would not have an impact on the annual Birdman event.


RESOLVED to approve the project as outlined in the report to convert the identified area as into a retained Sea Water Pool to be funded as outlined in section 5.2 of the report.

Supporting documents: