NEW pontoons and mooring facilities are set to be installed at Lymington Town Quay in a major project funded by the harbour commissioners.
The work, which is expected to commence at the end of next year’s sailing season in November 2019, has been given the go-ahead after more than eight years of planning.
The scheme will shift the main navigation channel north-east to allow for more than twice as many walk-ashore berths for crews of visiting yachts.
New pontoons will create 46 boat spaces linked directly to the quay – in contrast to the previous 19 – and access to power and water will also be provided.
Speaking at a meeting of the harbour commissioners on Monday, harbour master Ryan Willegers said: “All of the planning and environmental consents required for the project have now been granted and tenders for the project have been invited from three Solent-based companies.”
As part of the project, further visitor moorings will be made available on the far side of the navigation channel, as well as buoys and finger berths for residents’ boats, not linked to the shore.
A dedicated area with four pontoons will also be created for commercial fishermen next to Haven Quay boatyard and the railway line, as well as an enlarged landings area by the walk-ashore berths.
The project has been designed to provide the type of mooring facilities expected by modern yachtsmen and will help Lymington compete with other harbours in the Solent.
Although the exact budget for the scheme has not been revealed, Mr Willegers told the A&T he anticipated it would be in excess of £500,000.
As well as benefiting visiting yacht crews, the harbour commissioners believe the development will also boost Lymington’s economy.
“A conservative estimate is that the new proposals will generate an additional £1.1m for the local economy in the first 10 years,” said Mr Willegers.
“The new proposals will increase the number of visits to local shops, restaurants, pubs and the Saturday market and offer the unique prospect of holding major events at Town Quay that will appeal to event participants, local businesses, and local people.”
The harbour commissioners say safety will also be improved, due to the widened navigation fairway and enlarged turning areas near the commercial quay and Berthon boatyard.
As well as applying for planning permission for the scheme from New Forest District Council, the commissioners were also required to seek the necessary marine licences and consent from the landlord, the Crown Estate.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Willegers told the A&T: “We are excited that this scheme is now finally going forward, thus reflecting the strong support received during the public consultation process.
“The new facilities will provide more of the convenient walk-ashore berths expected by modern yachtsmen while at the same time retaining a smaller number of mid-river moorings so that we provide something for everyone.
“Our proposals will result in more yachts visiting the town, providing a significant boost to local tourism. The proposals will also help to maintain and enhance the vibrancy of the Town Quay area as a tourist destination.”
As part of wider plans to improve the quay, NFDC is also set to replace toilets and a shower block that is used by visiting sailors.
Mr Willegers explained: “We rent part of the washroom and shower facilities for our visitors to use so we have agreed that we will contribute towards NFDC’s project to upgrade this shoreside area. The work is due to be finished in time for the opening of the new Town Quay.”
It is anticipated that a contractor will be appointed in January 2019 and the works will begin on 4th November 2019 in time for completion by spring 2020.