Poll: Masterplan for Brightlingsea harbour published

Aerial shot of Brightlingsea Harbour. Picture: Mike Page.

Aerial shot of Brightlingsea Harbour. Picture: Mike Page. - Credit: Mike Page

A blueprint for how Brightlingsea harbour could look in 50 years’ time has been published.

Brightlingsea Harbour Commission (BHC) has produced a masterplan including a wish-list of projects costing a total of more than £860,000, plus a conceptual idea for a service centre which could cost more than £50million.

One of the more achievable projects is to create a decking area around the town hard to provide an area for the public to enjoy the waterfront, as well as improving access to the water.

BHC, along with Brightlingsea Town Council which owns the area and Tendring District Council, has entered a joint funding application to the EU for £550,000 towards the decking scheme.

Smaller initiatives proposed in the masterplan include new pontoons, possibly providing power and wifi to boats.

Long-term the document sets out a vision to create a Marine Service Centre on Oliver’s Wharf, currently occupied by SITA UK.

This could include deep-water mooring, an 80 tonne boat lift to hoist larger ships out of the water, and be home to a hub of other related services. If the project were ever realised it could create a number of training and apprenticeship opportunities.

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The masterplan follows a strategic study carried out by experts in 2011 which looked at a range of options for the future of the harbour.

Martin Johnson, BHC chief executive, said: “Brightlingsea is a vibrant harbour with commercial, leisure, fishing and sailing as well as wind farm support use – it is thriving.

“We don’t own much of the harbour. It is a slightly odd position where we are suggesting to someone else what to do with their property.

“The strategic study did have some pie-in-the-sky stuff and things we did not necessarily agree with, so since then we have consulted with our stakeholders. We now have this more considered masterplan which leaves things most people would agree it would be good to do if we had the opportunity.

“A lot of people are complimentary, others don’t like certain features. That is what we want, we are about consultation.

“Some of the projects are deliverable now. The pontoons are something we could do and probably will in the next few years. But none of these things are instant.

“The hard project could create a mini town square where you could have events like the carnival.

“Things like this people are more or less in favour of but it is getting down to the nuts and bolts, the mechanics of it – and who will pay for it.

“Oliver’s Wharf is the most speculative thing. If you put that package together and asked stakeholders if they want it in Brightlingsea then it would probably be yes – but again it is how we pay for it.

“We don’t have £20million to pay for it. But things are changing in the economic landscape.”

A public meeting to discuss the masterplan was held in the town last night.