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Home Sheerness News Article
The Island has been given a tourism boost after a £300,000 grant was awarded for a project to improve boat moorings.
Queenborough Harbour Trust was given the money under the Right to Challenge, which was introduced in June 2012 as part of the government’s Localism Act.
The process allows community organisations and social enterprises which control services previously run by local or central government to bid for public money.
The harbour trust took on the responsibility of operating and setting prices for the harbour and around 80 moorings in the town’s waterways from Swale council in April 2012.
The bid process began six months ago and involved a series of meetings to go through the proposals to convince representatives from government and the agency which handles the money that it will be spent responsibly.
Confirmation the trust had been successful arrived just before Christmas.
The grant has been earmarked for a project to install pontoon moorings, which it is hoped will attract more tourists to Sheppey.
At the moment, only swing moorings are available in Queenborough, which means after visitors attach their vessels, they may need to get another boat to take them to shore.
The all-tide landing was the only hard standing but it is currently closed until funds can be raised for its repair.
Pontoon moorings remain stable, making it much easier for water users to step up and walk on to dry land, and it is hoped they will provide more spaces for boats.
QHT spokesman Geof Reed said: “Our research from the London Boat Show and other responses from boat users is they much, much prefer pontoon moorings than swinging moorings, so it’s in response to what people want.”
The grant will go towards the planning, purchasing and installation of the equipment and also the appointment of a project manager.
Mr Reed said the trust originally applied for £250,000 but was surprised to be given an extra £50,000, which he said was in recognition of the fact working capital is often an issue with volunteer-led enterprises.
He added: “This is terrific news and it provides a vote of confidence, not only for Queenborough Harbour Trust but, more importantly, the community of Queenborough. This is recognition of the immense potential that Queenborough has.”
QHT members have been marketing their site at the London Boat Show at the ExCeL Arena this week.
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