FIFTEEN motorboats which once held pride of place in the country’s only dedicated motorboat museum are gathering dust while Basildon Council tries to get rid of them.

The collection has been held in storage since December, when the Motorboat Museum at Wat Tyler Country Park closed its doors for the last time, despite council promises it would not be axed.

The museum finally shut its doors for good because of dwindling visitor numbers.

The building housed some of the best examples of motorboats built in the UK, throughout the twentieth century.

The news came as the council revealed a planning application to transform the former museum into a £1million green visitor centre could be given the go-ahead next week.

Although a design statement with the planning application says a number of the boats will remain on display in the former motorboat library, Steve Prewer, council manager of open spaces, said: “The council owns 15 boats out of the collection, so the owners of the other craft will decide what they wish to do with their property.

“Boats that have been loaned to the museum are being collected by their owners. Boats that have been donated to the museum will be offered back to the donors.

“We are working with the Friends of the Motorboat Museum to find other collections for those bought by the council or those not wanted back by the owners. This is standard museums practice for the disposal of a collection.

“We are confident the council-owned boats can be relocated following the interest shown.”

There were nearly 50 motoboats based at the museum.