Rocking the boat over marina plan

Actor Timothy West at the protest
Actor Timothy West at the protest

FAMOUS faces were among a crowd of protesters who demonstrated against a 550-berth marina at Onley.

Husband and wife actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West joined campaigners on Sunday to register their objections to the proposed marina which will cover 36 hectares.

Both are canal and railway enthusiasts and Ms Scales – best known as Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers - is a former president of the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England.

As part of the protest, Mr West read two verses by Rugby-born poet Rupert Brooke, extolling the beauty of the countryside.

Mr West said: “In broad terms we just feel that anything which spoils the countryside ought to be for a very good reason, and I don’t think this is a very good reason. There is a plentiful supply of berths.

“It is about maintaining a valuable social and economic resource.”

Mrs Scales added: “I grew up in the extreme countryside and I just think it is a vitally important part of British life and philosophy.

“We must look after it. It is part of our culture. We have a very compact geography and it is something we should value and cherish.”

The protest was organised by Tim Coghlan, managing director of Braunston Marina, a site which would be in direct competition with the planned development.

The applicant, J Marine, plans to build an inland marina and wildlife haven and it has been backed by residents of nearby Onley Park.

The man behind the marina, Joe Oliver, said: “It is perhaps not surprising that a marina competitor has sought to orchestrate a campaign against the project.

“We have worked with waterways organisations and the local community for many years now to make sure this project is of exceptional quality and a benefit to all.

“I would urge people to look at the application for themselves.”

Adrian Cooper, chairman of Onley Park Residents’ Association, said: “It will be a great benefit improving a derelict area to one that can be enjoyed by the residents of our village, as well as many others.”

Daphne Finch, Barby and Onley Parish councillor, said: “The proposed changes are very exciting and can only enhance everyone’s lives now and for future generations.”