Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - Protecting, Preserving and Promoting The River Itchen in Southampton - Thursday, 1st December, 2022 5.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Melanie Morley Democratic Services Officer 02380 832198 

Link: ink to meeting

No. Item


Apologies and Changes in Membership (if any)

To note any changes in membership of the Panel made in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4.3.



Apologies were received from Councillor Ivan White.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 310 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2022 and to deal with any matters arising, attached.


Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2022 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Protecting, Preserving and Promoting the River Itchen in Southampton - The Economic Importance of the River pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Report of the Scrutiny Manager outlining the focus of the third meeting of the inquiry and requesting that the Panel consider the comments made by the invited guests and use the information provided as evidence in the review.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the report of the Scrutiny Manager detailing the issues concerning the economic importance of the River Itchen in Southampton.


The Panel received the following representations:


Steven Masters, Harbour Master at Port of Southampton, Associated British Ports (ABP) summarised the key issues about vessel movements and wreck clearance in the River Itchen in Southampton as:


o  Total commercial vessel movements recorded on the River Itchen south of Northam Bridge by the Southampton Vessel Tracking Service were 3,844 (2021), 3,238 (2020), 3,905 (2019).

o  There is increasing propensity for vessels to be abandoned.

o  There is no requirement to register vessel ownership. 

o  It would be challenging to keep a local register of vessels due to the high numbers in the Solent.

o  Responsibility for clearance of abandoned vessels lies with the landowners where the vessel is located.

o  During the past eighteen months nearly seventy wrecked, abandoned or illegally moored vessels have been removed by ABP and either sold or scrapped depending on their condition.

o  ABP has invested over £500,000 in the wreck clearance project so far, and will continue to do more in 2023, whilst also undertaking increased patrols of river moorings to manage and prevent illegal mooring. Live aboard vessels present the biggest problem.

o  Enforcing the rules on the river is difficult due to the number and nature of the various landowners and responsible organisations.

o  ABP would welcome additional commercial development of the river, including an increase in moorings that are properly managed.  This would limit illegal mooring and improve the appearance of the river.


Matthew Hill and Paulina Piotrowski, Economic Development Operations Managers, Southampton City Council summarised the key issues about the economic value provided by the industrial and business operations on and by the River Itchen in Southampton as:


o  Southampton has a long history associated with the marine industry including the internationally significant port and port related activities, the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute and Oceanography Centre, and a wide range of other marine industries including boat building and repair and yacht marinas.

o  The sector depends on the limited number of sites which have access to the waterfront. It is important that these sites are safeguarded for marine uses to support the success and growth of the marine sector, including hi-tech and skilled marine activities.

o  The Itchen Riverside area hosts a diverse range of businesses, local marine companies and institutions. It is estimated that there are between 500 and 550 businesses in the immediate area.

o  Business sectors represented along the Itchen in Southampton include marinas, Southampton Dry Stack, marine aggregates, manufacturing, sports and leisure  and educational establishments and training institutions.

o  There are significant challenges in recruitment and training for the marine and maritime sector in Southampton and the Solent region. Action is required to develop and sustain a skilled workforce  to enable these sectors to prosper.

o  The Chamber of Commerce Local Skills and Improvement Plan is one important response.

o  Business South is lobbying  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.