Piers planned for Portishead marina by North Somerset Council

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 February 2017

Portishead marina. Picture: Adam Pinson (iwitness24)

Portishead marina. Picture: Adam Pinson (iwitness24)

Piers, jutting out into Portishead marina, are set to be agreed by North Somerset Council – however the plan has left some in the town stunned.

Cllr Felicity Baker plans to approve spending more than £80,000 in community grants on a project to change the marina, which she believes will improve watersports opportunities.

Viewing platforms and piers are planned, with surplus cash set to pay for kayaks and paddleboards.

The details were released on the council’s website this week and the decision notice, which is expected to be signed off imminently, says: “It is proposed to provide piers, into the marina from Pill Park, which will allow easier access to the water’s edge for a range of sports, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and small dinghy sailing.

“They will also be suitable for fishing and crabbing.

“In addition it is proposed to provide an accessible viewing platform, adjacent to the piers, which allow people to walk out over the water and enjoy the view.

“Quay Marinas has agreed to take ownership and maintain these piers.”

The announcement comes despite lengthy talks between Portishead Town Council and Portishead Yacht and Sailing Club about asking for a new slipway to be added – as reported last month by the Times.

Town council chairman Lesley Cottrell said: “Just last Wednesday the recreation and works committee meeting decided to recommend to the (full) town council that a letter be sent to North Somerset Council asking why the decision for the new slipway was taking so long, so you can imagine how shocked I was to see this notice on Friday.

“Cllr John Clark said at the meeting: “The letter (to North Somerset Council) should clearly state that this is a safety issue. It is vitally important that young people of Portishead have an understanding of boats because they are likely to end up in them or on them.

“I understand when the marina was built the original plans included provision for a slipway for young people to train with Portishead Yacht Sailing Club. If this is the case, the proposals outlined renege on this.

“I think it is vital young people living in a coastal town should be given the opportunity to learn how to handle boats safely.”

Although North Somerset Council and Cllr Baker believes the piers will increase watersports participation within Portishead, the sailing club disagrees.

Club member Charles Murphy said: “The proposed piers with their inevitable steps from the path will be of no value for trolley launched sailing dinghies.

“The current foreshore is already unacceptable for sailing dinghies, and the proposed piers and steps, if used, would make the launch situation worse.

“Piers and platforms would also consume a portion of the limited amount of water space in the marina.

“They would restrict access to the foreshore for on the move sailing dinghies due to their wind direction limitations.

“The other local paddleboard and kayaks clubs at Bristol and Clevedon consider piers to be of very limited value due to the range of water height in the marina.

“A floating pontoon would be more effective at a lower cost.

“Arguably even more effective for paddleboards and kayaks is an artificial beach. This local opinion is not controversial and our contacts at British Canoeing would readily confirm it.”

The Times asked Cllr Baker to outline the benefits of the idea, but no reply has been received at this stage.

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