New access charge for the Dee???

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TinyPaddler
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New access charge for the Dee???

Post by TinyPaddler » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:54 pm

For those that are confused by the title, well...so am I. Below I list the events that transpired on the 24th November 2018, if you don't fancy reading all the details go down to the "^^^", enjoy.

Myself and a group, 11 people in total, decided to go kayaking on the river Dee aiming to end the trip at Mile End Mill, an ideal spot because there's plenty of parking, usually, and a nice cafe where you can get some warm drinks and food. When we got to mile end mill we noticed it was rather busy so we decided we would only leave one car there, trying to be considerate. While we where here, deliberating, a lady strolled past with her dog and asked if we were parking,
"yes" I replied "but we'll only leave the one car so we don't take up too much space"
"okay, that's fine" she responded "we just ask that people only park two abreast", referring to the middle of the car park, which I had.
I only found out later this was someone who works in the cafe, possibly the owner. AT NO POINT did she mention a parking charge for the use of the car park, there were also no signs visible from the road or even in the car park that mentioned the price of parking there, or even that we had to pay. However! There was a small sign, and I REALLY mean small, by the water that we completely missed because it's so out of the way. Myself and other members of this group have parked here several times and we didn't even know there was a cost. I typically go into the cafe and get a drink and a cake, to give them custom for using their car park.
We went back up to the get in, Horseshoe falls, with the other two cars. We paddled the river and got out at the cafe, this is when I saw this tiny sign, convenient that kayakers would only see this after they've gotten out, stating "Register and pay in cafe". I thought nothing of it believing it would probably only be a couple of pounds per car. When I went inside to pay, the lady I saw earlier was there,
" I believe I owe you some money" I said
"£3.00 each" she replied
"£3.00 per car?" I enquired, surprised she was asking for money for two cars that weren't even parked there.
"£3.00 per person"

THIS ^^^ is my reason for posting! Never, in the entire time I've been drinking water, have I witnessed a parking charge specific to the amount of people present in your group. I have witnessed something similar and that would be classed as an "access charge" similar to that of the Tryweryn but that's perfectly fine. Any paddler worth their BA understands that the Tryweryn is a managed river and so an access charge is perfectly reasonable, the Dee most certainly is not managed and I'm completely unaware of any access agreement specific to mile end mill regarding access to the Dee.

IF she was in fact asking for a parking charge, she was asking us to pay £33.00 for parking one car in their car park for a few hours, absolutely outrageous. This stunned me! I didn't even have that much money on me. I told them I would come back, I couldn't think I was dumbfounded by shock. When going back to my car I looked around again to see if there was a parking charge sign anywhere, declaring the cost of parking, a legal requirement of car parks, there were none!

I refused to pay and left. I want to stress I'm not proud of this, I would never back out of paying something I'd agreed to, my dad brought me up better than that. That being said, due to the lack of signage, I never agreed to paying anything.

I found out later that the other two cars in our group, who had brought their cars down very briefly just to pick up the boats (less than 15 minutes) had run into some trouble. I had discussed this "charge" with them, before I left, and they were equally surprised by this out of nowhere cost and also refused to pay. As they attempted to leave they were confronted by the cafe lady who shut a gate, preventing them from leaving, and continued to hound them until they paid, threatening to go to the DVLA if they didn't. They were scared and did what she said. I should have been there but I wouldn't have been able to be civil and I would have only made things worse, and I'm not proud of this either.

When I got home I phoned a friend, he's been paddling longer than I've been alive and he's very well informed, I asked him about a parking charge at mile end mill and he suggested they may have imposed one to help the cafe financially. However when I said that it was per person not per car, even he suggested that it sounded like an access charge.

Does anyone else know about this? Is this a one of a kind car park, with a unique charge based on your cars occupants? Or is this some kind of messed up, possibly illegal, charge to access the Dee?

The last thing I want to do is mess up this amazing sport up for other people, but this just seems wrong.

Thanks for reading.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Dave Manby » Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:03 am

Call it what you want but it is basically a way of raising funds to pay for the facility: car park, changing facilities etc. You can park in town and pay at the pay and display machines or park at the Llantisillio car park at Chain Bridge and pay at the machine there too. If you don't like it go elsewhere. Simple. Legality is questionable obviously but do you want the Mill developed into "luxury flats" instead?

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by TinyPaddler » Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:05 am

Definitely not! But some heads up would have been epic

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New access charge for the Dee???

Post by John K » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:01 am

TinyPaddler wrote:Does anyone else know about this? Is this a one of a kind car park, with a unique charge based on your cars occupants? Or is this some kind of messed up, possibly illegal, charge to access the Dee?

The last thing I want to do is mess up this amazing sport up for other people, but this just seems wrong.
It’s not just a car park, it’s a whole site dedicated to use by paddlers and the fees are essential to keep the site available for us to use.

They cover car parking, toilets, changing rooms, and using private land to access the river.

This is a totally legitimate charge. We have no right to use this land. It’s not a public right of way. If paddlers consistently refuse to pay their way then eventually we’ll lose it.

Maybe some new signage would be a good idea though to make sure that everyone understands this.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Jerry Tracey » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:27 am

I too am supportive of the current arrangements at Mile End Mill, having used the site for many years whenever I am in the area.
There seems to have been an unfortunate breakdown of communication in this case; the per head charge is for paddlers using this private land to reach the river and is very reasonable, in my view, for park-and-play. If all that is required is simply egress after a downriver trip a better bet is to continue into the town and land above (or below!) Town Falls. As others have said, Mile End Mill is a very valuable resource, which could easily be lost.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by BoofandSwim » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:56 am

TinyPaddler wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:54 pm
They were scared and did what she said.
I appreciate they may have been inexperienced/taken unawares, but this was a crucial mistake because it will only embolden the cafe owner to bully people for money - probably illegally. Indeed, had she phoned the DVLA, they would have told her to bugger off. A better response would have been to politely ask her to open the gate, and to mention getting the police involved if she refused.

I understand the position of those arguing for maintenance of, and access to, facilities etc., but, even if a majority are in favour of this system, due diligence must still be followed. In this case, the cafe owner appears to be taking everyone for a ride.

This is a problem no matter where you seem to go in England and Wales. In Scotland, there is the odd disagreement with locals about access, but generally all kayaking takes place peacefully, amicably, and positively - without 'land owners' bitching because they're not cashing in on people's enjoyment of their sport.

You may wish to accompany your discussion of the practicalities of changing facilities with a more important philosophical discussion about whether the outdoors is there for everyone to enjoy - irrespective of wealth.

I've paddled the Dee hundreds of times and there's little choice but to pay for parking. In my view this makes the whole thing feel more like a trip to a theme park than an escape to the outdoors.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Dave Manby » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:57 am

Dave Manby wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:03 am
Legality is questionable obviously but do you want the Mill developed into "luxury flats" instead?
BTW the planning application was turned down.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by twicezero » Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:39 pm

AT NO POINT did she mention a parking charge for the use of the car park, there were also no signs visible from the road or even in the car park that mentioned the price of parking there, or even that we had to pay. However! There was a small sign, and I REALLY mean small, by the water that we completely missed because it's so out of the way. Myself and other members of this group have parked here several times and we didn't even know there was a cost.
Why did you think it was free? Did you ask permission to park on their private land?

Have I being going about using other people's stuff all wrong?

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by chilealan » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:36 pm

Your title is a bit mis leading.
I have paddled the mill for about 20 years there has always been a per person fee to use the facilities[/u][/b].
Please don't bleat.
It is not that long ago there were and possibly still are threats to the facility and people were up in arms.
The current user is doing her best to facilitate our enjoyment and needs every help and encouragement.
We are happy to spend a lot of money probably about £1000 on kit Boats paddles ect. Spend money on travel to the site. So please smile and be happy we have a readily accessible location
There are signs and if your a regular paddler at the site you know that.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:39 pm

So far as I know there's been a charge for launching/landing at Mile end for 20 years, but they don't charge people who paddle through the site without using any of the facilities they have created. Did the person asking for the charge specifically say it was for parking, or might it have been for using the facility?

If I parked in a cafe car park to go paddling, even if I was using the cafe I'd ask them if it was OK to leave a car.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:01 pm

BoofandSwim wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:56 am
I appreciate they may have been inexperienced/taken unawares, but this was a crucial mistake because it will only embolden the cafe owner to bully people for money - probably illegally. Indeed, had she phoned the DVLA, they would have told her to bugger off. A better response would have been to politely ask her to open the gate, and to mention getting the police involved if she refused.
You are correct that DVLA would not have engaged in this (unless they are a member of the British parking association or independent parking committee), but she is perfectly within her rights to shut the gate on what is private property. As long as no damage or threatening behaviour are involved the police will not intervene. By the sound of it what is needed is better signage, so people can make an informed decision - I can find no mention of a charge on their website or Facebook pages (if it were a parking charge then clear signs are a requirement, but as it seems to be for facilities it's less clear cut)...
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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by TinyPaddler » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:22 pm

I'm seeing some replies stating this charge has been around for 20 years but if that's the case why are there others that seem completely unaware of this, not just myself. I've noticed that there's another forum asking the same question. If there's this amount of confusion among more than just one person then it's obviously not clear enough.

My point is:
If there was a sign that was clearly visible upon entering the car park or a sign that is visible from anywhere in the car park highlighting a charge there would have been no problem. We either would have accepted the cost or left, but we needed to be given this information before we parked.

Usually I ask for permission, especially if it's somewhere I've not been before. However because I have been here before, as well as other members of my group, and I would use the cafe after paddling, to support the cafe, I thought that would be perfectly fine. I was never asking for it to be free, that's the purpose of spending money in the cafe afterwards.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by BoofandSwim » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:15 pm

jmmoxon wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:01 pm
she is perfectly within her rights to shut the gate on what is private property
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all members of the public can enter/exit the car park using the implied right of access. The 'land owner' has the right to withdraw the implied right of access, but must do so clearly and in advance.

The police would not take kindly to being called out to tell her to open the gate - which they would undoubtedly do vociferously given her childish, bullying, anti-social behaviour.

Somebody needs to have a fair and frank chat with the owner and inform her that if she wants to charge a fee then she must follow due diligence, for example by publicly registering the car park and clearly stating charges upfront. She must also ensure that charges are reasonable - the OP stated that only one car was left and nobody used the facilities, yet the owner appeared determined to charge £3 per paddler. That was not reasonable.

Like I wrote above, it sounds a lot like the owner is trying to take everybody for a ride by levying arbitrary fees on unsuspecting paddlers. I'd be curious to see just how consistent she is with the application of her 'fee system'. There are surely plenty of more experienced paddlers who are happy to challenge her on her BS, and I rather imagine she just lets them drive off and moves on to the next group of poor sods who might not have the experience to tell her where to go.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by LucyLou19 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:38 pm

With the exeption of when the site was unoccupied after the snow collapsed in on the roof, its been £3 per person as long as Ive paddled there.
I pay at MEM when launching at mile end mill. When I want to run laps of the river I egrees in town and use the canal as shuttle. Much less faff. Its also private property, you have no right of access through private land.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:52 pm

If there is a barrier present before parking, then it is not an offence to restrict movement by closing it (read between purple bars):
http://www.landlordsguild.com/private-l ... -act-2012/

Local Police unlikely to accept a car full of kayakers are being bullied by one woman, however, if information is as poor as claimed they are likely to advise her to let you go...
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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Chalky723 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:29 pm

BoofandSwim wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:15 pm
There are surely plenty of more experienced paddlers who are happy to challenge her on her BS, and I rather imagine she just lets them drive off and moves on to the next group of poor sods who might not have the experience to tell her where to go.

Aren't you a treat?

God forbid you have to pay £3 to park your car, change, use the toilets & recover your £800 boat.

"More experienced" paddlers have been quite happy paying the fee for many years.

Now that you know the score I'm sure you won't be parking there.

D
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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by John K » Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:33 pm

BoofandSwim wrote:Somebody needs to have a fair and frank chat with the owner and inform her that if she wants to charge a fee then she must follow due diligence, for example by publicly registering the car park and clearly stating charges upfront. She must also ensure that charges are reasonable - the OP stated that only one car was left and nobody used the facilities, yet the owner appeared determined to charge £3 per paddler. That was not reasonable.
I think someone needs to have a fair and frank chat with you. This is more than a car park, and no one is being fleeced.

The signage may need improving, and it sounds like things could have been handled better that day, but the bottom line is that this is a site which is run for paddlers and a succession of operators have tried to make it work and struggled because people think they should have it for free.

There is no right of access to the river here. Charging to use private land is legitimate and is in no way legally questionable.

Nobody has to get on or off the river here, but lots of us do because it’s really convenient. If the site can’t pay its way though, we will lose it.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:37 pm

Somebody needs to have a fair and frank chat with the owner and inform her that if she wants to charge a fee then she must follow due diligence, for example by publicly registering the car park and clearly stating charges upfront.
If she's running a car park, yes. But if she's actually running a river access facility, and charging for that (with free parking for users), which is what it would seem like if she's charging per head not per vehicle, why should she register as a car park? I agree that, since she's also running a cafe, it would be a good idea to have some clarification about what parking and other entitlements cafe users have, but if there's nothing obvious, wouldn't you ask? Putting up lot of formal notices would go against the informal atmosphere the place has (I've been there within the last month).

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Jim » Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:50 pm

As far as I know the gate is chained and padlocked every night.
The cafe lady has always been friendly and has even let us park up overnight (making arrangements to get the gate opened for us out of hours).

I can't think where the signs are, but I'm pretty sure there are or have been signs in the car park, I certainly had no problem understanding the situation coming from Scotland where most of the parking is free. One thing you do sometimes find where there are people who object to paying charges, is that they remove the signs so that others don't know about them.

Why charge per person? I don't know the actual reason, but having witnessed large groups without any cars at all present, monopolising large areas of the car park I can think of good reasons! On one occasion my own car was so surrounded that I couldn't even get to it to load my own boat, never mind get changed, until I'd asked some people to clear a path, which they did reluctantly.

It would be nice to see the cafe make enough profit to upgrade the toilet facilities, seems unlikely if people are refusing to pay up, I think most of the money they take goes on the rent.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:16 pm

Why charge per person?
If it a charge for use of the facilities, per person is the logical thing. If it's for parking, it would be nonsense.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by BoofandSwim » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:25 pm

John K wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:33 pm
I think someone needs to have a fair and frank chat with you.
Calm down pal.

This has nothing to do with money. I always pay for my parking if there's a fee and I'm happy to do so. I also always ensure I provide custom to any businesses, including cafes, if I have benefited from their generosity (for example by providing a parking spot - but I'll of course always seek permission to park before doing so). I hope this assuages your very clear desire to do battle with anyone who dares to deviate from your opinion on this issue.

This discussion is to do with the OP's experience. Consider the scenario: The OP used the implied right of access to enter the car park, was unaware of any fees because they were not clearly stated, and then faced belligerent threats of having their car locked in when they protested at what were clearly arbitrary fees (£3 per paddler irrespective of whether they all used the facilities) levied afterwards. This was not reasonable behaviour.

The law is clear: any charges must be stated before parking commences.

Except, you don't all appear to be talking about parking. Some of you are talking about parking; others about use of facilities; and still others about charges for accessing the river from that point. Each of these carries its own legal caveats and until you can decide - clearly - what it is you're paying for, you're hardly in a position to be going off on one at others for sympathising with the OP.

My impression is that the owner conducts her business in an informal, inconsistent fashion and that has led to the confusion.

If the fee is part of her business model, then it should be clear and consistent. Either that, or she should expect natural variation in the responses she receives from paddlers whom she levies the fees on unexpectedly.

If, as you suggest, there is a pre-existing de facto contract between the owner and regular paddlers, then that's absolutely fine. Indeed, many posting here appear to fully support the £3 per paddler system.

But... you can't have an open car park with no signage and then threaten to lock people's cars in when you approach them about a fee as they're about to leave. That is manifestly unfair.

So, yes, someone should have a fair and frank word with her about due diligence; i.e. putting signs up that clearly state the charges to everyone so that they know exactly what they're being charged for and how much it costs before parking.

Does that sound reasonable?

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New access charge for the Dee???

Post by John K » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:59 pm

BoofandSwim wrote: Calm down pal.
I’m calm :)
My impression is that the owner conducts her business in an informal, inconsistent fashion and that has led to the confusion.

If the fee is part of her business model, then it should be clear and consistent. Either that, or she should expect natural variation in the responses she receives from paddlers whom she levies the fees on unexpectedly.
It may be informal, but it’s very consistent. There’s a charge of £3 per paddler for anyone using the site.
But... you can't have an open car park with no signage and then threaten to lock people's cars in when you approach them about a fee as they're about to leave. That is manifestly unfair.
There is a sign at the entrance that says there’s a charge of £3 per person for using the site. Even if you didn’t see that, why you would think that an unlocked gate constitutes an invitation to park for free is unclear to me.
So, yes, someone should have a fair and frank word with her about due diligence; i.e. putting signs up that clearly state the charges to everyone so that they know exactly what they're being charged for and how much it costs before parking.

Does that sound reasonable?
I’ve already said the signage could be improved. However I don’t think it merits this sort of attack on someone who is working hard to provide a facility that we all want.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Mnwxm » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:36 pm

Their is no new access fee for the use of the mile end mill site, river active pay for the site and other bills and land owners fee's and charge £3 per person and has stayed the same since river active took the site on a few years ago, llangollen outdoors were there before river active for a few years and their charge per site user was £3 and before that it was jj's and the cost perperson was £5 per head, thank god there are some great kayakers around that support the sport that they love and keep these staffed centres open with toilets, parking, changing rooms, first aid kits, defibrillators, keep the rivers clean and remove any dangers as well as keeping site users informed of any changes on the river and all of this is thanks to the paying customers who pay a small fee each time they visit, what do the leeches who freeload off the back of people who pay bring to the river or paddling community ?????

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by Chalky723 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:29 am

BoofandSwim wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:25 pm
That is manifestly unfair.

Waaaa, go and park on someone elses private land if it bothers you that much.

FFS, just pay the fecking money & stop yowling!!! You need her more than she needs you....

D
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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:04 am

Actually, he is correct, IF there was no signage; however, there is a sign at the entrance which clearly states the charge & it's been there for at least 3 years, but it's not what you'd be looking at whilst pulling off a busy road, so something additional is required. It is enough for the police to insist you pay up before letting you out though...

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by BoofandSwim » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:27 am

John K wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:59 pm
I’m calm :)
Your usage of the 'smiley face' suggests otherwise...
John K wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:59 pm
There is a sign at the entrance that says there’s a charge of £3 per person
If there's a sign at the entrance stating explicitly what people are being charged for and how much it costs then great! Clearly there should be no confusion and I wonder why so many people are posting here about adverse experiences.
Mnwxm wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:36 pm
what do the leeches who freeload off the back of people who pay bring to the river or paddling community ?????
This is exactly the kind of divisive rhetoric that plays into the false narrative promoted by the land owner that anyone caught unawares by her ineffective, unclear signage is somehow a 'leech' - one of 'them' rather than one of 'us' and they should be shunned, abused, and expelled from the 'community'.
Chalky723 wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:29 am
Waaaa, go and park on someone elses private land if it bothers you that much.

FFS, just pay the fecking money & stop yowling!!! You need her more than she needs you....
Well, you're lovely, aren't you!
John K wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:59 pm
However I don’t think it merits this sort of attack on someone who is working hard to provide a facility that we all want.
You are ultimately all going to great lengths to avoid engaging with the core issue here, which has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the OP's experience. The land owner's allegedly appalling behaviour towards the OP's group was obviously unacceptable. If she wants to operate an informal system then she must be prepared to accept that some people will find it unclear.

Further, if she wants to start charging people who haven't even used the facilities, then she must be prepared to accept that some people will stick up for themselves by not paying for services they did not receive.

If she wants to start bullying those people into paying her money they do not owe her by threatening to lock them in, she must be prepared to accept some negative publicity and perhaps confrontation with the authorities.

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by John K » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:56 am

BoofandSwim wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:27 am
If there's a sign at the entrance stating explicitly what people are being charged for and how much it costs then great! Clearly there should be no confusion and I wonder why so many people are posting here about adverse experiences.
At last count there's a grand total of two of you.
You are ultimately all going to great lengths to avoid engaging with the core issue here, which has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the OP's experience. The land owner's allegedly appalling behaviour towards the OP's group was obviously unacceptable. If she wants to operate an informal system then she must be prepared to accept that some people will find it unclear.
I think most people accept that things could have been handled better, and I understand that improved signage will be going up shortly to avoid any future misunderstandings.

You're clearly still very cross about what happened. What can we do to help you?

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:58 am

Some paddlers know there's a charge & take advantage of the gate not being manned to avoid paying, that is why she is upset. Others don't realise there is a charge to USE the site, but don't help matters as they don't clarify the situation on arrival - better signage would help here.

Inflaming what the OP reported isn't going to help matters as there is no way of knowing what anybody actually did or said unless it was filmed...
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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:15 am

BoofandSwim wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:56 am
I've paddled the Dee hundreds of times and there's little choice but to pay for parking. In my view this makes the whole thing feel more like a trip to a theme park than an escape to the outdoors.
There are actually quite a lot of other options if you inconvenience yourself a little, either paddling the flatter bits above or below the honeypot section, or parking near the canal, or even walking further rather than parking at the riverside...

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Re: New access charge for the Dee???

Post by BoofandSwim » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:37 am

John K wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:56 am
You're clearly still very cross about what happened. What can we do to help you?
I'm concerned rather than cross.

I'm concerned because the OP made an innocent mistake and came on these forums to seek clarity from the paddling community. I believe they did so in good faith that people's responses would be reasonable and respectful.

Instead, they were met with dismissive derisions and general hostility. In my view, this is not what these forums should be about.

Further, and rather crucially, there is still a fundamental unwillingness by certain members here to engage with the OP's experience. The land owner's alleged behaviour was appalling, and it's highly concerning how unwilling certain members, including you, have been to condemn it.

I mean, for crying out loud, the land owner allegedly sprung a charge on a group of people who hadn't actually used the facilities and then threatened to lock them in if they didn't pay money they didn't owe. That's not a case of "could have been handled better"; it's a case of "Let's get to the bottom of this and, if true, let's ensure appropriate measures are taken to promote reconciliation so we can all get along smoothly and peacefully in future".

This language of "stop moaning", "leechers", and the gaslighting "there's a grand total of two of you" falls well below the standards of a community I'm ordinarily proud to be a part of.

Let's show the OP some respect and say e.g. "Don't worry, it happens to a lot of people who don't paddle there regularly. Yes, there's a £3 charge - you pay at reception. If the owner was attempting to charge members of your group who hadn't used the facilities, then that's obviously wrong and we support you on that. Indeed, if they threatened to lock you in because of that then we condemn that in the strongest possible terms. We are also aware of the unclear signage and will pass this on to the owner as constructive feedback. Hope that helps".

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