Herald Express Feb 14th 1978


Residents of Kingsbridge have until April 1 to raise at least £l5,OOO, or they can wave a sad goodbye to a floating castle.

The Compton Castle paddle steamer, which has been moored as a tourist attraction at the head of the Kingsbridge estuary for the last 12 years, is likely to end up as scrap unless local residents can save her.

Salcombe Harbour Authority decided that unless it's owners produce a certificate of water-tightness integrity the steamer - the last to operate on the River Dart -should be removed by April 1, after which there will be a daily fine of £10,

But in a bid to keep the steamer at Kingsbridge, residents are being asked to support a town appeal to buy the vessel and have the necessary repairs carried out so that she can be used possibly as an information centre.

The organisers of the appeal Mrs Diana Inge and Mr Tony Rogers, prospective Parliamentary Liberal Candidate for Totnes asked the authority yesterday for a stay of execution.

The committee rejected the plea. Members agreed, however, that if residents can produce the necessary certificate of watertightness integrity then they would allow the harbourmaster to postpone the order for the vessel's removal.

Harbour committee chairman Mr Ralph Sharpe made it clear that the authority did not intend to grant any deferment . Unless the steamer was removed fairly soon it would end up as scrap on the bed of the estuary and the harbour authority would have to foot the bill to clear it away

The owners of the vessel, a Dorset firm want £15,000 for it.