Marina plan hits yet another delay

The site of the proposed marina seen from Cross Keys Bridge.
The site of the proposed marina seen from Cross Keys Bridge.

A long-promised £894,000 commercial and pleasure boat marina for Sutton Bridge has been further delayed as the county council tries to sort out legal agreements.

The marina plan has been on the books for three or more years but has been dogged by delays and controversy, with some villagers disputing county council claims that it will bring a “significant” economic boost to Sutton Bridge.

I personally would have thought the money would have been better spent shoring up our sea defences – and that would have benefited everybody in the village after what happened here in December 2013.

Parish council chairman John Grimwood

Parish councillors want to ensure that £200,000-plus from the Power Station Fund that has gone into the marina pot will not be lost.

Last September, the county council said it would be announcing a pre-Christmas start date for the marina work, but now says it is still drafting legal agreements.

Parish council chairman John Grimwood said he’s disappointed the work hasn’t been done and doesn’t want to see the village lose the power station cash.

He said yesterday: “I personally would have thought the money would have been better spent shoring up our sea defences – and that would have benefited everybody in the village after what happened here in December 2013.”

A tidal surge came within two inches of overtopping the banks that night.

Paul Wheatley, group manager economic development, said: “We need to lease two pieces of land for the project, each with a different owner and different set of solicitors.

“The leases need to be drafted to work alongside one another. Because of the number of people involved this is an even more complicated process than usual, as every change has to be run by everyone else to make sure the two agreements remain consistent.

“Notwithstanding these difficulties, which we hope will be resolved in a matter of weeks, our contractor is now preparing the necessary paperwork which needs to be submitted to the EA (Environment Agency) ahead of work starting.”

The marina project was costed at £915,000 but delays over buying land meant cash from a European fund was lost from the project.

The county council revised the plan, reducing the spending pot to £894,000, and cutting the number of moorings.

Cash from the Power Station Fund has to be spent this year or it will revert to the power station – and could be lost to any alternative projects in the village.

Coun Grimwood believes the main benefit the marina will bring is tidying up the riverbank.

He believes pleasure boaters visiting from places like Peterborough will shop at supermarkets on the way to the village rather than spend cash in Sutton Bridge and he doesn’t think it will create local jobs.