The new owners of the Hungerford marina site, Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited, are still waiting for the final outcome of the planning application made earlier this year.
Lakeland Leisure made the planning application for development of the marina site to their revised design in September but West Berkshire Council have made approval conditional on finding adequate measures to prevent pollution of the rivers Dun and Kennet; to mitigate the impact of the marina on water levels on the canal; to clear up possible asbestos pollution and to mitigate the impact on the adjacent Freeman’s Marsh SSSI.
Lakeland Leisure’s plan for the site near Cobblers Lock west of Hungerford includes a larger marina basin, three flats and an area for excavated soil, enlarging the site to 4.5 hectares. Lakeland Leisure Estates ‘acquired’ the site in 2012 and according to their web site will be developing the marina in 2016. Planning permission was originally granted in 2004 after a 12-year battle with conservationists and local residents who opposed the plans to make the former pig farm on Freeman’s Marsh into a 120-berth marina. Work was due to begin in 2007 but did not continue due to a lack of financial backing.
Local campaigners are concerned about the impact on the sensitive Freeman’s Marsh which is an important wetland habitat for rare plants and breeding or migrating birds. Others are concerned about the impact of the marina on bank erosion and on water levels on the K&A in an area where CRT already struggles to maintain a navigable water level, and about an increase in turbidity due to boat movements.
Clearly the new marina will not welcome liveaboards. Lakeland Leisure spokesperson Stephen Rice told Hungerford Town Council on 7th October 2015 that “This marina is going to look really smart. We will insist on visitors having a separate, permanent address. They will not be allowed to reside here. None of them will be living here permanently.”
The Planning Application reference is 15/02312/ COMIND.