A LONG-ESTABLISHED watersports business in Christchurch say they have been forced out by the council after a contract was awarded to another company. 

The owners of Shoresports in Mudeford Quay have been left frustrated at BCP Council after the watersports tender was offered to another operator which they claim won’t offer the same sports as them.

Nick May, owner of Shoresports for 11 years, said his business as it stood offered a variety of watersports activity that both residents and tourists enjoyed, but he claimed that BCP don’t see sailing and windsurfing as essential activities.

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Bournemouth Echo: Shoresports in Mudeford QuayShoresports in Mudeford Quay (Image: Shoresports)

He said: “These are fundamental sports on the south coast, so locals and tourists expect to be able to hire the latest kit and receive professional tuition. 

“Who will meet this need, as there is no one else in the Christchurch locality. The new provider has confirmed he will absolutely not be offering this. 

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“The new provider will not enhance or increase activity at Mudeford quay, but is limiting the range of sports so not meeting the initial criteria.” 

Mr May added he is “sympathetic” to the council’s decision-making, saying that Covid and the merging of BCP in 2019 meant they have been up against time and financial pressures. 

Bournemouth Echo: Shoresports in Mudeford QuayShoresports in Mudeford Quay (Image: Shoresports)

He and his wife Kathryn have appealed BCP Council’s decision to award the tender to another party and they have also launched an online petition. 

He added he recently spent £30,000 on new equipment and is worried it will all go to waste after the council’s decision. 

“Shoresports had offered doubled what it had been paying, and had hoped not to overpay to keep basic costs lower so as to continue to pass on good value (low prices, quality equipment and well-paid staff) to customers and continue giving through its profits to charity,” he added.

“We have told the council it was open to negotiations if price was its only concern.” 

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A spokeswoman for BCP Council said: “The watersports concession at Mudeford Quay was originally awarded to Shoresports for a set term, which ends in March 2023.   

“The council has therefore carried out an open tender exercise to select an operator for a new three year term starting in April 2023.   

“The tender process aims to ensure the best possible service and financial outcomes for local people.   

“We have selected a preferred bidder and are currently undertaking standard due diligence checks prior to issuing a contact.”