Councillors keep harbour budgets afloat with £100,000 injection

Joseph Bulmer

Torbay Council has decided to use part of its £10 million budget underspend to top up the coffers of its struggling harbours.

The council agreed to spend £100,000 of its surplus into harbour reserves, which are more than £500,000 behind their financial targets.

In recent years Torbay’s harbours have had to dip into reserves to pay for building and upkeep. The pandemic hasn’t helped and has had a major impact on income. Last year the harbour was bailed out with £200,000 government grant.

Torbay’s Conservatives councillors brought the request for the funds before full council, which approved it unanimously.

Cllr Andrew Barrand said: “It’s fair to say that the harbours really are the Bay – and the lynchpin of Torbay.

“To repeat that well-worn phrase ‘I think we need jam today not jam tomorrow’ in helping to build these reserves, but obviously if there’s jam tomorrow we’ll have that.”

Cllr Barrand, who sits on the harbour committee, added that he wanted to prevent the harbour from having to come back begging “like Oliver Twist” for emergency money.

Cllr Vic Ellery, who also sits on the harbour committee, agreed: “Absolutely we need this money now because of the work that needs to be done on the harbour estate. We need to get a safe environment for our visitors, our residents and for everyone that works on the harbour. I know how desperately we need this money.”

Conservative leader David Thomas attempted to get an additional £250,000 into the reserve but, in the end, welcomed the £100,000 that was granted.