MINEHEAD Sailing and Watersports Club, a not-for-profit charity run entirely by volunteers, remains closed after the club’s latest attempt to renegotiate the revised slipway fees was rejected by Somerset Council.

The club was forced to cease all operations on April 2 this year after serving the local community for over half a century, when it learned that its charity concession on harbour fees had been revoked.

Previously, the club had been allowed to pay £120 a year for use of the slipway for non-motorised watersports but now faces a 4500% increase due to new fees. 

Debbie Allum, club secretary, said: “The charity has been devastated by the Council’s appalling decision and attitude to our immediate closure. We are a small community charity, which for over 60 years has offered training, exercise and water sports, and a chance for local people of all ages and abilities to get out and challenge themselves.”

A spokesperson for Somerset Council said: “As the Statutory Harbour Authority we run Minehead Harbour on a cost-neutral basis, and the charges for using the infrastructure and slipway enable us to meet our requirements under the Port Marine Safety Code.”