As a former Harbour Commisioner of 17 years service, my take on the proposed marina and enhanced harbour facility for commercial users is this: The change to the viability of a marina for any sort of leisure activity has been the emergence of the budget airline industry over the last 20 years. Owners of yachts can berth their craft on the Mediterranean coast and be on board within several hours, at very little cost. Importantly, they can do so 52 weeks a year with almost guaranteed sunshine. A marina this far north in Britain, means that owners of pleasure craft, can only really enjoy their asset in the few short months in the summer. Many owners remove their craft during the winter months, to prevent buffeting by the bad weather.
The emphasis must be on the commercial side of the current harbour and expanding it to embrace the emerging offshore wind industry and accommodate as much as we can, the service vessels that they need. We also need to dramatically improve the facilities for the shellfish industry because that is what makes the current harbour viable.
The harbour is in need of a massive maintenance programme as this as been neglected, through lack of finance caused by the huge legal bill incurred fighting off the council, who really always wanted control of the facility. This is all now behind us, hopefully.I have a gut feeling that because construction of a marina requires outright grants with no possibly of payback (which rules out private investors or companies) and there is an acute shortage of that commodity, there is a danger that this project will never see the light of day again – we may have missed the boat and the only thing that is going to be built on the beach are sandcastles.
Former Harbour Commissioner