IT IS NOW six months since Barton Marina was taken over by Lakeland Leisure, so I think it's now reasonable to do a review of changes taking place, writes Ralph Freeman.
A change for the better
Not all marina takeovers result in a positive outcome as I personally have had to move marinas as a result of such an event. However, I am pleased to be able to report the new owners at Barton Marina are investing in the marina, something the previous owner had been reluctant to do.
Most of the moorers at the 20 plus years old Barton Marina would agree that the marina was 'looking tired' and much in need of renovation/investment. The general opinion was that the marina had been simply a source of revenue, with the profits being invested elsewhere, by the previous owner. Now the marina is moving forwards facilities wise, which makes a pleasant change.
We have had new anti-slip decking fitted to the main walkways, with the finger pontoons due to be upgraded next. As an Ancient Boater, the removal of the extremely slippery, 20 years old wooden planks is most welcome. A long wait in A&E following a fall was not something I looked forward to.
I have the impression the new owners are genuinely interested in improving the facilities for boaters. For example, a mail room accessed by electronic tag, has been set up with locked 'pigeon holes' for liveaboards' mail. This is a boon for working folk as they can now collect their mail when the office is closed. This was always a bone of contention under the old regime, but was never addressed.
Of course as with any takeover, the signs have been renewed/rebranded, but the accompanying lick of paint has improved the appearance of the place too.
Overall the atmosphere has improved to one of hope, with a 'can do' attitude, for the future. This is in contrast to the past when boaters felt they were simply being 'used' by the owner, whose attention was clearly centred elsewhere.