Close to the estuary with Pegwell Bay and its resident seal population and situated within the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area, the Sandwich Bay Special Area of Conservation and within an internationally renowned Ramsar site, this new marina has suddenly appeared on the River Stour without any warning or public consulation.
Located at the Pegwell Bay end of the world war one Richborough Port the marina boasts a brand new shower toilet and laundry block, a new slipway, landside hardstanding for boats and cars, an outdoor social area with promises of more facilities to come as additional pontoons are added to cope with the expected rush of excited boat owners.
But why was a polluting and
environmental damaging recreational facility such as a boating marina allowed to have been developed in one of the most sensitive and protected habitats in the country? A habtiat that is home to several rare and endangered animal and plant species.
Just last week Dover District Council (DDC) submitted its new Local Plan for Government approval. Hundreds of pages of this mammoth sized plan are dedicated to the River Stour, Pegwell and Sandwich bays. They highlight the urgent need to protect these important habitats and the rare animals and plant species that they host from human caused pollution and damage. Yet here we have a stark and worrying example a destructive human development appearing from nowhere right in the middle of a ecoclogically fragile area which DDC, in its new local plan, promises to protect.
I say the marina has come from nowhere because I can find no references to a planning application for the marina ever being submitted to DDC. Nor can I find any mention of permitted development rights being approved by DDC. Whatever route the developers have followed to construct their marina, they would have been required, because of its sensitive location, to have obtained independent Habitat Directive and Environmental Impact Assessment reports. Again I can find no reference to such reports.
I have contacted DDC planning to find what, if any, permissions the owner of the Marina, Mr Carl Davis, has obtained to build it. I will also be contacting Natural England and the Kent Wildlife Trust who are both statutory consultees on matters such as this to find out what they know and what their views might be.
I wonder if the Sandwich and Port Haven Harbour Master
who is required by law to monitor developments on the Stour, has raised any concerns about the mysterious marina. It is inconceivable that as the man on the spot he wouldn’t have had prior knowledge about it. I will be asking him too
To be clear I am not for a moment suggesting that anyone has broken the law, but I am extremely concerned that there appears to have been no public notification and public consutlation about it. There also appears to have been no planning or permitted development process carried out either.
It appears to me that either the marina development has nop permissions and is unlawful, or that it was nodded through the planning/ permitted development process on the QT by people who, for their own reasons, didn't want the public to know about it, or to object to it.
I intend to find out and will let you know.
Heres a link to a drone video which shows the marnia. Its towards the end of the video
I will be writing more when I hear from DDC and others.
Call Out if you have any information about this story please contact me
I never ever reveal my sources.