Poole Harbour Commissioners announce a 20-year horizon plan to create “UK’s Number One Marine Leisure Location” and become a leading Green Port, whilst developing cruise and other commercial shipping opportunities.
Currently in consultation phase, plans for the Marine Centre include adding some 600 berths to offer an approximate 950-berth facility, with a fuel dock and a new “Environmental Awareness Centre” educating visitors about Poole Harbour’s environment and its sensitivities. The Centre plans run outreach programmes with schools and include history and maritime heritage topics.
The Masterplan also features improved access for the public and water-sports activities with an extensive new waterfront walkway, creating opportunities to hold bigger and better boat shows and similar events. This is envisaged as having potential as a community and marine education space and will serve to promote engagement between the public and nautical recreation.
Plans for berthing include multi-use berths, which can easily be structured to accommodate a variety of vessels from superyachts to high-performance racing fleets. Fortunately, Marina Manager Kerrie Gray has plenty of experience restructuring pontoons having often overseen the work required to remodel the pontoon layout for exhibiting boats at the Southampton Boat Show.
The area South of the current Poole Quay Boat Haven which will occupy the new Marine Centre is very shallow and will need significant dredging, the materials from which will be used in the new construction project. Comprehensive environmental impact studies will be carried out, and the Masterplan includes an ambitious Sustainability and Decarbonisation plan with environmental certifications, the use of renewable energy, and sustainable procurement amongst other initiatives.
Having already hosted numerous national championships for various classes and receiving scores of cruising rallies and regattas each year, the new Marine Centre will be well positioned to build on this success to offer racing clubs and classes a strategically located base for international events. Next to the Isle of Wight and the Solent area, in the very middle of the UK’s South coast, and with an increasing problem in terms of berth availability across Southern UK, a new, extensive facility could well be a magnet for both new and established regattas.
Kerrie Gray welcomes the project which is backed by a large contingent of stakeholders.
The team have been working tremendously well over the last few years, and the marina has already welcomed 4,000 visitors this year, giving an increase of 35% compared with 2022’s figures. We are now pretty much at capacity for the entire summer holiday season and so the extension project is a tremendous opportunity. I thrive off new challenges and am very much looking forward to exploring the potential of what this means for Poole Quay.
Poole Harbour Commissioners new CEO, Captain Brian Murphy has a clear vision.
The new Marine Centre will play a major part in the regeneration of Poole Town Quay, offering enhanced and improved facilities for existing customers whilst addressing the shortfall of available berths for new customers and visiting vessels alike.
The new facility, including the Environmental Awareness Centre, will attract major National and International events bringing increased visitors to the area for the benefit of local businesses.
The Commissioners aim to be a leading green port which will also encompass the new Marine Centre, designed to be carbon neutral with increased biodiversity.
Feasibility studies are currently being concluded with full public and stakeholder consultation continuing throughout”.