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Withybed marina unveiled

Posted on August 24 2007 at 11:23:37

Marina plan

Alvechurch’s place at the heart of the UK narrowboat leisure industry could be enhanced by a plan for a new 75-berth marina.

The present Scarfield Wharf marina is already home to Alvechurch Boat Centre, one of the country’s largest narrowboat operators.

Now a local farmer has submitted detailed plans for a new marina in fields to the north of The Crown Inn, Withybed Green.

Adrian Bytom told The Village he had been thinking about building a marina on the land, which he currently farms, for around seven years. It had taken five years to get to the stage of seeking planning permission from Bromsgrove District Council.

“It’s been a long haul,” he added.

Access to the marina would be from an entrance on the left going up Callow Hill Road, shortly before the right turn over the M42 to Barnt Green, with a gravel track following the line of the railway to the new development.

Material excavated to create the marina would remain on the site and be used to contour the fields around it.

Mr Bytom said: “Once it is operational it will just merge into the hamlet. It will only be seen from a very few places: up Scarfield Hill and from the canal itself.”

He said there would be a manager and a couple of operatives as the marina would be a seven-day operation offering sanitation and pump-out facilities, along with refuelling and water.

Mr Bytom emphasised that the application was for recreational moorings, not residential ones. “It is like a car park for boats,” he explained.

He said the marina would not mean large numbers of people in the area because it was envisaged that 80 per cent of the berths would be leased on a long-term basis to people who want somewhere to keep their narrowboats.

The remaining 15 or so moorings would be available for people to moor narrowboats while on canal cruising holidays.

“The idea of recreational moorings is that people might come to stay on their boats at weekends, to maintain them or to pick them up to head off on a canal trip,” he said.

There is a 16-week period to assess the environmental impact of the plans, but Mr Bytom – who himself lives in Withybed Green – hopes Bromsgrove’s planning committee will make a decision at its November meeting.

If it gets the go-ahead, construction could take place over spring and summer 2009.

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