Storm over marina berths plan
By Katy EdwardsA STORM is brewing over a plan to allow up to 100 more yachts to moor on the Ipswich dockside.The Ipswich Society said the “floating caravan park” could clutter the open water and feared it could thwart any future water-based entertainment, such as the Ipswich Maritime event.
A STORM is brewing over a plan to allow up to 100 more yachts to moor on the Ipswich dockside.
The Ipswich Society said the “floating caravan park” could clutter the open water and feared it could thwart any future water-based entertainment, such as the Ipswich Maritime event.
But Associated British Ports, which has applied for 38 new berths at Ipswich Haven Marina, with a view to possibly creating a further 60 in the longer term, said the group's fears were unfounded.
It claimed the additional mooring space, which would stretch as far as the lock gates, would contribute to the regeneration of the dockside.
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The Ipswich Haven Marina currently has 180 allocated permanent berths and 30 kept free for visitors.
John Norman, vice-chairman of the Ipswich Society, said the marina expansion could eat into one of the town's most valuable assets.
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He added: “There would only be a small channel of water left in the centre, which we fear would not be enough to sail a big yacht or host town maritime events.
“What would happen if anyone suggested putting caravans in Christchurch Park?”
But Robert Smith, Ipswich port manager for ABP, said: “There will be ample other space to carry out activities and bring vessels and racing boats down the river.
“The berths won't stand any further proud from the south-west quay than the existing ones. The vessels that use the north quay will still be able to get in and out.”
He added: “We believe this expansion will attract more people to Ipswich and to new pubs and restaurants along the quayside and fits in very well with local planning proposals for the docks.
“The wet docks are handling less and less commercial shipping. It is no good just being left with bare water.”
Mr Smith said ABP understood that over-cluttered marinas, such as found in the south of France, would not serve Ipswich well.
With skippers paying £180 per metre per year to keep their boats in Ipswich, the additional berths would e a valuable source of income.
“The scheme we've put forward costs £300,000,so we would obviously be looking to make a return on that,” said Mr Smith.
Ipswich Borough Council said it was too early to comment on the plan.