Boaters don’t want new marina

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I HAVE just finished an extended canal cruise taking in approximately 700 miles of waterways in both the midlands and Wales.

It was noticeable that the northern Oxford Canal was crowded compared to many of the other canals I had traversed. I encountered more boats, both moored and moving, in just one day from Hillmorton to Braunston than I did on many other days in other localities.

If the proposed new marina is successful, it will bring another 500+ boats to the area, in addition to the new capacity offered by the recently constructed marina at Barby.

The crowding and congestion on this lovely stretch of canal will be made worse.

I doubt if the waterway can cope with such an increase.

When I left Braunston in May, all the ‘gateway’ locks to this level were operating under restrictions due to water shortages.

These have now been eased thanks to the dismal summer we have experienced.

Nonetheless, when I returned in September, the Hillmorton locks were still at 50 per cent capacity, and generating a 30-minute queue, this time due to mechanical deterioration.

Introducing large numbers of additional boats to the area under these conditions appears to be a recipe for more crowding and congestion.

Is there demand for so many new moorings? The marina at Barby seems unable to fill its completed berths, other local marinas have vacancies and the boat building industry is in recession.

The proposed marina at Onley carries a grave risk of becoming a countryside-destroying white elephant.

I have written to Daventry District Council stating my objections to the planning application.

I urge others to do the same and help protect our countryside against this unnecessary development.

Alec English

Braunston Marina

ALTHOUGH our pair of ex-working boats is based on the southern Grand Union, our family has boated regularly in this area for the past 25 years.

I wish to give a boater’s perspective to the proposed development. The area is known for its rural peace and calm, which will be lost if this marina is built.

As more and more of our canals are developed with marinas, housing, shops etc. we are losing tracts of peaceful canalscapes to 21st century developments.

The marina will have a shop/chandlery, restaurant boat services etc. all of which will hugely detract from a landscape which has an 18th century feel to it.

Indeed, it’s one of the few places where an even earlier medieval field system is visible.

A huge new marina will mean a increase in boat movements in an area where there is already a serious overcrowding problem.

This overcrowding is especially apparent at weekends and holiday periods.

Even before an influx of hundreds more boats in the area there is now often an almost solid procession of boats, many of which want to moor for the weekend.

There is simply no pleasure in boating in a convoy and vying for a good place to moor.

Boaters simply go will go elsewhere. Already the Braunston area is getting a bad name amongst boaters.

This summer many boaters have decided to explore northern canals.

They are less crowded.

It would be a shame if increased numbers of boats in these new marinas drove away passing boaters like myself.

Jim Hutchinson

London