BOATING and sailing enthusiasts on Windermere face an increase in fees and charges from April next year.

South Lakeland District Council officers said the majority would be pegged at just two per cent, in line with the Retail Price Index.

Fees such as tractor use, mast hoist use, warden boat hire use and towing will go up by more than two per cent.

The council said it needed to properly reflect the cost of providing such services to lake users.

A number of legal fees and charges levied by SLDC, are also being increased from between 11 per cent, 16 per cent, 66 per cent and 150 per cent.

However, the council said its charges started from a ‘low base,’ and were being brought into line with those imposed by other local authorities.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the council’s Lake Administration Committee in Windermere on Friday.

Sion Thomas, the council’s operational lead for commercial services, said: “The majority of fees and charges for the lake have increased by two per cent where it is practical to do so.”

Cllr Jennifer Borer, a member of Windermere Town Council, drew attention to the small print used to set out the charges which she complained she needed a ‘magnifying glass’ in order to read them.

Cllr Peter Hamilton, another member of the town council,  pointed out that someone’s boat had sunk and they were charged £17,000 to get it off the lake bed, which is owned by SLDC.

SLDC’s Linda Fisher, the council’s legal, governance and democracy lead, said its rates were in line with other councils.

Ms Fisher said: “This is largely about those people who have a legal agreement with us, so a mooring agreement or an encroachment agreement where we in-house do the legal work around it. Our team deals with all those agreements and we also might need to go to court if there are disputes on encroachments.”

Cllr Doug Rathbone said it was under the council’s remit to ensure that it recovered public costs for any work it undertook.

“We always try to give an open approach and as much information as possible on our fees and charges,” said Cllr Rathbone.