Posted May 15, 2018
Proposals for a new marina in Shoebury have been met with scepticism.
Gunners Park has been earmarked as a potential site for the multi-million pound project, spearheaded by Essex Yacht Club vice commodore Paul Gilson and backed by Southend West MP David Amess.
Belfairs councillor Steve Aylen, who campaigned several years ago for a marina at the head of the pier, questioned the feasibility of the proposals - and believes the pier option should be explored once again.
He said: “I believe that a marina in Gunners Park is completely out of reach in the near future.
“Not just because of the huge cost that would be involved in dredging the marina site and creating a lock to negate the issue of the tide, but there is also a question of infrastructure.
“How would the existing road and rail transport links support a marina?
“How will this benefit people who live in Southend and run businesses close to Gunners Park, and ensure that it won’t just create travel problems?
“The rejected proposal to install a marina at the end of the pier could be adapted to suit the demand rather than risking throwing money at a project no-one wants.
“A marina at the end of the pier would bring a much-needed boost, not only to businesses at the end of the pier, but businesses along the seafront and the high street.”
The concept of a pier marina has been considered in Southend since at least the 1970s, when prolific businessman George Walker’s proposal was rejected at Southend Council by just one vote.
The most modern iteration of a pier marina was proposed in 2015, when long-serving councillor Graham Longley proposed a structure that would mirror a successful project in Sopot, Poland.
Mr Aylen’s views were echoed by Prittlewell resident, David Antill, 60, who said: “Why don’t they just put concrete coffers at the end of the pier? It would have immediate access to deep water without dredging, add interest to the underused pier head and there is no lack of space in the estuary, unlike on the shore. The coffers can then be used to grow mussels and oysters.”
Shoebury resident Susan Dodds, 45, of Chelmer Way, said: “They have been on about this for years. I thought it was pointless then - a waste of money that won’t help the people of Southend.”
Source: Clacton Gazette