Work to begin on new slipway and boat store at Portishead marina

Pill Park

Pill Park - Credit: Archant

An £80,000 project to create a slipway at Portishead marina will be completed by the spring.

North Somerset Council wants to build a launch and recovery facility for small sailing boats at the shallow end of Pill Park.

The authority has been consulting with groups including Portishead Yacht & Sailing Club (PYSC), the gig club and Quays Marina to develop the plans, which will be funded through section 106 contributions and include separate public access.

A project to create a boat store on council-owned land near to the launch area is also planned. The facility will be in a compound with a path wide enough for sailing dinghies to be pulled to the launch area.

North Somerset and Portishead town councillor David Pasley said: “As a coastal town we are flanked by the sea, but while this is a boon for serious yacht and motorboat owners the dangerous currents along the Bristol Channel do not provide safe facilities for inexperienced young people who wish to learn to sail and enjoy the fun of watersports.

“It is therefore considered the basin area of Pill Park with its gentle sloping beach will provide a safe facility to launch small craft so people will be able to enjoy a range of water related activity where it is both calm and safe.

“We are very keen to encourage disabled youngsters and adults to use the new facility and have designed the slipway with this in mind.

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“Both North Somerset and town councillors have long hoped to see this section of the marina used so residents and visitors can watch youngsters enjoy and learn from the great water facility we have in Portishead, so I am delighted it is now happening.

“Work is expected to be completed well in advance of next spring.”

Cllr Peter Bryant, North Somerset’s executive member for the environment, added: “I am delighted to see the start of this scheme which will greatly benefit the local sailing and rowing community, and the general public.

“It will enable training to take place on a safer enclosed area of water and will encourage many local people to use the water for the first time.”

The plans are not universally popular, with PYSC member Charles Murphy suggesting the slipway does not adequately cater for disabled users.

Cllr Pasley says the council considered other sites but chose this one as water levels will always be high enough.

PYSC commodore Dave Herbert added: “These organisations have all been involved in the plan and we all support it.We intend to do more training with the youth club and other groups.”

Initial plans drawn up in 2017 were revised amid safety concerns.