Marina hailed: ‘pie in the sky’

Northam residents turned out en masse to voice their concerns over the Torridge marina proposals

FEARS of excess traffic and undelivered promises were among concerns raised at a public consultation on the Torridge Marina proposal.

The first consultation, held at Northam Town Hall on Friday, was filled with around 70 people including town councillors and a manager from Appledore Shipyard.

The overriding feeling in the room was one of distrust; with people worried that the developers would build the houses then run.

But the developers were keen to emphasise that this would not be the case, and that a ‘section 106’ agreement by Torridge District Council would mean the marina would have to be built in the first phase of the project before the housing.

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Many keen yachtsmen attended the meeting to air their concerns that the marina would not be deep enough for many larger boats.

Kit Mayers, from Northam, has been sailing for nearly seventy years now, and called the project a “pie in the sky”.

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He said: “I don’t think anybody would want to use the marina anyway; we go to somewhere with deep water like Cardiff or on the South Coast.”

However, Len White, a member of the Appledore Gig Club, is optimistic, and said: “I hope that the club will use it; the plan seems better than the last one they proposed.”

Another overriding concern among the turnout was the already existing traffic problems at Bloody Corner, despite developers’ plans to put a new roundabout in on Haywood Road.

Residents were worried plans for up to 300 houses, 80 holiday homes and a 90-bed care village would result in an influx in traffic on the already busy roads.

Barrie Parsons, a Northam resident, explained: “This area is known for traffic in the summer months, and this will make it much worse. It doesn’t seem to me that anybody wants this marina anyway.”

Ashley Clements, owner of the land where the marina would be sited, pressed the importance of the care home, which would also have a state-of-the-art dementia care unit.

“65% of the Northam population will be over 60 by 2015. Nobody likes to talk about dementia, but this care village will have outstanding facilities and there is a need for it.”

Planning consultant Maria Bailey remained optimistic about the project, and despite the negative comments, there was a lot of support for the marina.

She said: “We have had an overwhelming support from young people, who are really excited about the project but they don’t seem to attend these meetings.

I think the fact is that we have got to move away from projects that just develop houses and nothing else. Northam has got to have growth in the future.”

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