Preserving the past for the education and enjoyment of future generations has always been a high priority for your local town council, responsible as we are for a truly heritage town. The three dolphins are a reminder of those bygone war years, constructed in 1942 by the Royal Navy for MTBs to be laid alongside for hull scrapping and repairs.
Eighty years is a very long time for timber and steel to withstand the harsh corrosive effects of salt water, confounded by tides and winds. Inevitably rust and rot have taken their toll and so rendered them unsafe structures, too far gone for economic repair. Leave them there and they will very soon disintegrate completely, depositing red rust onto the mud below.
No decision has yet been taken as yet with regard to their future and their presence does not interfere with the heritage pier construction. However, a full survey is to be ordered by the Council to evaluate their true condition with regard to health and safety given that insurance cover is becoming progressively more difficult to arrange. A decision will then be made based on the advice given by the independent marine surveyor.
If they are declared unsafe, they will be moved to the safety of the Shipyard Estate; there to be properly assessed and decisions taken as to how conservation could be best achieved. Before removal, drawings, a host of photographs and measurement will be taken so if a practical solution can be found, the dolphins could form part of the planned heritage quay in some way or another. If, on the other hand they are adjudged to be safe and the insurers are happy to provide public liability cover, they can remain.
It’s worth noting that the heritage pier and pontoon project has highlighted need to carry out a long-overdue professional survey on these structures, the results of which will be shared with the community on this website.
As ever, your views and thoughts are welcome. Please direct to the Town Clerk at the Parish Hall.