THE gates of Brunswick Wharf in Bideford are open again, at least on a temporary basis, to provide access to the historic schooner Kathleen and May. Two weeks ago, wharf owner Torridge District Council padlocked the gates after the Kathleen and May Trust

THE gates of Brunswick Wharf in Bideford are open again, at least on a temporary basis, to provide access to the historic schooner Kathleen and May.Two weeks ago, wharf owner Torridge District Council padlocked the gates after the Kathleen and May Trust failed to take up an offer of a one-year lease on the wharf where she is berthed, in return for £17,000 work on the site in lieu of rent.But the council has given an extra 30 days stay of execution.Schooner owner - local businessman and councillor Steve Clarke - said this offered the opportunity of a month's grace for further negotiation with the council.He believed the council had mistaken the value of the yard as being in full order, with buildings in lettable condition and a wharf capable of commercial use, whereas the yard was not currently capable of that, he said.Council leader Cllr James Morrish, said: "It is with great disappointment that Torridge District Council finds itself in the current situation regarding the Brunswick Wharf lease. "The council would like to re-iterate that the berthing of the Kathleen and May in Bideford is not in question in any way. However, the yard's buildings and the area that makes up the wharf is owned by the residents and tax payers of Torridge and fairness to each and every one of our tenants should be ensured."Mr Clarke, who rescued and restored the century-old wooden sailing ship, wants to ensure that the historic local vessel remains as an attraction in Bideford and is also negotiating with National Historic Ships, established by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to promote the preservation of historic vessels, in the hope of providing her with a permanent wet dock on the quayside as part of wider regeneration plans for the town.