South Dock Marina boat residents have warned increases in berthing fees could force people out of their boats, and called for clarity on the funding formula for the fees.

Southwark Council has increased berthing prices after its four year discount scheme ended.

It sees residential berth fees increasing by 3.2 per cent to keep in line with inflation, while leisure berthing fees increased by 21 per cent. This is in line with other marinas in London, documents explain.

But those who received the discount have seen their residential berthing fees jump by 7.2 per cent, while leisure licences have jumped 25 per cent.

The average boat between 13.5m and 14m in length will cost between £6,700 to £6,900 per year if you pay annually, and £7,700 to £8,000 a year if you pay monthly.

South Dock Marina has an income of £1.4 million, but spends about £1.3 million running the marina and other related costs.

But boat resident, Derek Kendall, said the council benchmarked the fees against marinas which sought to make profit.

Speaking to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, Mr Kendall said boat users felt they were paying their fair share and shouldn’t be seeing year-on-year increases.

“We are not asking for anything for nothing, but to be on this constant treadmill of hanging on to find another 3.5 per cent, 7 per cent… over 10 to 11 years we have had a 100 per cent increase,” he said.

Mr Kendall’s new boat charges see him paying  an amount similar to social housing rent charges – but he still had to pay insurance and maintenance.

“I am now paying £158 a week, which is the same as a two-bed council property. But where you are renting a property, the council provides maintenance, insurance and everything else.” he explained.

And the boats needed a lot of maintenance, he said.

“We are owners of fairly historic ships. The oldest in the dock is 1892.

“It is reaching the point of unaffordability,” he said.

There were a lot of people in the boating community who would otherwise be on the housing register, including vulnerable adults on very low incomes, he added.

But Cllr Jack Buck said the council had specific guidelines for those who qualified for social housing.

The committee also heard there were issues with the marina, including a shortage of electricity.

But cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Richard Livingstone, said a number of improvements had been made to the marina including investments in bathroom and shower facilities.

South Dock Association chair Matthew Kenyon was concerned the funding formula was not clear, and was concerned users could face further rises.

Committee chair Cllr Ian Wingfield recommended the council set up a forum with the boating community to discuss issues, and said there needed to be more transparency over the funding formula for berthing fees.

“We need a standing forum with relevant cabinet members and council officers to discus the whole host of issues to your situation.

“Secondly we all agree you need a clear foundation a formula for fee increases going forward that is transparent and you understand it.

“I think as council members we need that clarity,” he added.

Cllr Richard Livingston will meet with boaters and boat residents in the coming weeks.