"No more marinas on the Oxford!"

Published: Thursday, 02 December 2010

WITH marina operators losing boats as never before, those on the overcrowded Oxford Canal are worried at the proposals for yet another massive marina.

The new marina is planned to be constructed behind Onley Park above Braunston on the Oxford Canal, yet there are  many marinas already in the area, with a new one already  coming online.

600 berths

The great worry for the present marina operators is that the proposed new one will have the capacity for a massive 600 berths, which it is felt will not only take from the existing marinas, all of which have empty berths, but would eventually put even more boats on the already overcrowded waterway, with one operator stating 'no more marinas on the Oxford'.

With British Waterways admitting that the locks in this area are amongst the busiest on the system, there is the worry of boat hire business that the waterway will become so congested that people will no longer want to hire. The picture shows the narrow locks of Hillmorton that are already a bottleneck in the season, with the new proposed marina just a few miles away.

A need for berths

It was a report two years ago published by J Marine that stated there is a need for between 1,500 and 2,000 extra inland marina berths within the Daventry area before 2015 to meet demand that was used to further the proposal for the new marina.

At that time, Frank Brannigan, Chairman of Barby and Onley Parish Council enthused:

"This development is 600 yards away from Onley Park and I think this could benefit the people of Onley and also those in Daventry and Rugby.

"This will bring hundreds of jobs and also open up the wildlife in the area. I firmly believe this is a really well kept secret and having this development would open it up to a lot more people."

But the situation since then has changed dramatically with many marinas operating well below capacity, and 600 extra berths in an already crowded area is really not needed.