Following my enquiry about Sandwich’s mystery marina, Dover District Council (DDC) issued the following statement:-
“We have not received a planning application regarding a marina in this area, and our planning enforcement team is looking into this matter.”
This means that the marina which appeared, without warning, near to the confluence of the River Stour and Pegwell Bay is very likely to be an unlawful development which is operating illegally. Hopefully DDC’s planning enforcement team will now shut it down as quickly as it appeared.
Some people argue that because it is located at the end of an old, onetime busy, harbour the marina, automatically acquires “permitted development” rights. This, they claim, means that planning permission is not required. Technically they are right, but like many things in life it’s not that straightforward.
Because it is situated within, or close to, an officially designated National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Ramsar site, a Special Area of Conservation, and a Special Protection Area, the exercise of “permitted development rights”, is subject to the carrying out of an independent Habitat Impact Assessment and an independent Environmental Impact Assessment.
Any damaging impacts which the assessments identify as being caused, or likely to be caused to the protected habitats and the animal and plant life they support by the marina, must be taken into account by DDC before the development can be lawfully permitted.
This process will include a consultation on the proposed development and its impact which will include statutory consultees including Natural England, the Environment Agency, and the Marine Management Organisation.
Most importantly, there must also a be a public consultation which will allow the people of Sandwich to have their say about the marina.
Bearing in mind the ecological and environmental sensitivity of the area in which the marina is located, and the robust policies and laws which protect it, I very much doubt that DDC would grant “permitted development rights” or any other permission for the marina to operate at its current location.
In the midst of an existential environmental, biodiversity and climate crisis it sickens me to see ignorant selfish people defending a development which is unlawful, and profoundly damaging to Sandwich’s environment and the life forms it sustains.
By flouting planning laws made to protect our planet so as to make a quick profit , marina developer Carl Davis and those who support him are leaving our children and grandchildren with a huge environmental bill to pay for his greed.
Call out! If you have any information about the mystery marina please contact me in confidence
I never ever reveal my sources