GOVERNMENT landowners set to have a greater say in the management of Hampshire's most sought after moorings have been hit by a broadside from one of the county's river bosses.

As reported in the Echo last week, the county council is backing a shake-up of the River Hamble's management that will see 600 moorings administered directly by the Crown Estate.

But councillor Alan Rice, a member of the council's river Hamble harbour management sub-committee, has attacked the estate for putting profit before people.

A frustrated Mr Rice hit out amid concerns that mooring charges may rise under the new scheme.

He said: "The Crown Estate greed is not of our making. They have a duty to the people of Hampshire and of England to put something back into the environment and not to just keep taking it out.

"I wonder if we should tell the world that we are tax gatherers for the Crown Estate. I think they would not like that. I think they are a bit shy of adverse publicity. They are being greedy and making life so complicated for everybody."

Of the new scheme he added: "This is about the best we are going to get but I think river users should be kept informed of our problems which are none of our making."

But the government landowners insisted that the charges they raise are not excessive and have knock-on benefits.

A spokeswoman said: "Revenue surplus is paid into the Treasury to the benefit of the taxpayer.

"It's not a question of the Crown Estate lining its own pockets."

She added: "It is not correct to say mooring charges are a tax. It is a charge being levied for using land. The county council is aware of our position on this."