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Marina project sails ahead

Posted: 31/03/10 by Northampton Borough Council

The transformation of a disused boating lake into an 80-berth marina is taking another step forward this week.

Around 250 fish, including pike, tench, carp, roach and an eel, have been moved from the lake at Northampton’s Becket’s Park by the Environment Agency and released into the River Nene. The water has been drained into the river via gravity-fed channels and a pump is currently being used to empty the last of the water. It is expected this work will be completed by the end of this week.

Once the lake is fully drained, works will begin to remove silt from the boating lake and excavate the two islands that are present. This stage of the project is expected to take up to six weeks.

The islands have been covered with “screamer” tape, which makes a noise to deter birds from nesting on them. The contractor is also making regular inspections to try and prevent nesting.

Environment Agency Waterways Engineer Paul Arnold is project managing the scheme. He said: ‘The draining of the lake and subsequent removal of the islands represents a key milestone in the development of Northampton marina.

‘Once these works are complete, we will be able to begin to install piles to create the marina entrance and pontoons, marking the beginning of the marina’s construction stage.

‘This is when the people of Northampton will be able to see this exciting new facility, that will help to regenerate the town by putting Northampton on the boating map, begin to take shape.’

The Environment Agency is constructing the marina on behalf of the Becket’s Park Partnership. The Partnership is made up of the Environment Agency, Northampton Borough Council, the River Nene Regional Park, Northamptonshire County Council and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. The WNDC is providing £1.8-million to fund the new Marina.

WNDC Chief Executive Peter Mawson said: ‘Momentum is really building with this project and we’re looking forward to the day when it can be used by local people and visitors. The waterside area of Northampton has a very bright future indeed. The marina will be the focal point of major waterside development, providing new places for local people to live, work and spend leisure time. ‘

Barges will be used to transport silt from the boating lake about 1.5km downstream on the River Nene. It will be taken to land owned by the Nene Whitewater Centre and left to dry before being landscaped. Bunds will be put in place to prevent the silt entering the river.

Material excavated from the islands will be used to increase the height of existing flood banks around the marina to ensure there is no increase in flood risk.

Northampton marina will offer 80 moorings, six of which will be for residential use. The remaining berths will be available for short term visitors and pleasure craft requiring long term leases. Moorings will also be available for operators of commercial leisure boats, such as hire boats and water taxis.

As part of long term plans to develop Northampton into The Market City, later phases of the Becket’s Park project could deliver new landscaping, lighting, cafés and restaurants, while providing a busy, exciting link between the town centre and the waterside.

The marina is scheduled for completion in March 2011.

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