TV star joins fight to halt Onley marina plans

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THE campaign to prevent a new 550-berth marina being built has been joined by two stars of the small screen.

Prunella Scales, best known for her role as Sybil in the sitcom Fawlty Towers and her husband Timothy West will attend a planned site demonstration on Sunday, October 7.

The application has been submitted by J Marine to build the £15 million marina near to the site of Onley prison and has caused huge debate among the canal community in the local area.

Timothy West said: “The proposed Marina sounds horrible and undesirable and I am happy to come and assist with the campaign.”

Both actors have an affinity with the waterways with Timothy West presenting a show called Water World, a programme dedicated to the life of boaters on the canals. Prunella Scales is a former President of the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England.

The plans have upset many boaters who claim the marina proposal will exacerbate already existing problems with water levels and congestion on the network and would also destroy the countryside at Onley.

The demonstration will start at 3pm when the celebrities will parade past a rally of narrowboats lasting three quarters of a mile.

They will then disembark and walk up the footpath to Barby Hill where Timothy West will read two verses from poet Rupert Brooke.

They were written in 1914 shortly before he left to serve and die in World War One. Scholars believe he was inspired by the view from Barby Hill, the site of the proposed marina where the campaigners say the Malvern Hills can be seen some 40 miles away on a clear day.

They will then be escorted to inspect part of the wooded remains of the old Great Central Railway which is on the marina site. Campaigners say this would be destroyed by the development, if it was given the go ahead.

Tim Coghlan, managing direct of Braunston Marina and the man leading the campaign said: “We welcome the fantastic support from celebrities Timothy West and Prunella Scales in publicising our campaign to stop the monster marina at Onley.

“All canal boaters who oppose the development are welcome to join our rally demonstration at Onley on the day.”

The marina has the support of the residents at Onley Park as well as Barby and Onley Parish Council.

The plans will be determined by Daventry District Council in the near future.

A spokesman for the council has said no date has been set for when a decision will be made on the plans.