Another 100 boats will be used as homes at the popular tourist spot of Mercia Marina

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Dozens more boats are expected to be moored at a South Derbyshire marina, a popular tourist attraction.

Mercia Marina in Willington has received permission from the South Derbyshire District Council planning committee to have another 100 boats moored at the site, with the boats being used as permanent residences.

That brings the total to 360 at the marina, they told committee advisers.

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The marina is a popular holiday and tourist destination, especially for those traveling the canal system, with the Trent and Mersey Canal close by.

That would mean that 61 percent of the 587 berths at the site would be for permanent residents who have their boat as their primary residence. The remaining boats are used by tourists or day trippers.

The vast majority of the remaining moorings can only be used for recreational purposes and cannot be primary residences, while seven have commercial uses – such as mini-cafes, the committee was told.

Site owner Madecom Leisure LLP said in its planning request that there is currently a waiting list of 90 people for customers entitled to leisure use at the site who wish to upgrade to residential mooring.

The company said demand for leisure moorings was “lower” and said it had struggled with vacant leisure moorings since the site opened. The company said it currently has 70 vacant leisure berths out of 321 – 22%.

The company said in its request: “To make this problem worse, the impact of Covid-19 on the leisure and tourism industry has been significant.

“While the residential moorings market remained buoyant, demand for recreational moorings was hit hardest.

“The negative impact on the leisure mooring market is expected to continue and potentially worsen as government employment support is withdrawn.

“This application aims to address the supply and demand imbalance identified above. It will benefit the business of marinas in the current economic climate by helping to secure the basic income of a stable and reliable product.

“It will also help secure future foreign investment in the medium to long term – a policy which has made the marina one of the main tourist destinations in South Derbyshire.

“Ultimately, the proposal will rectify the problem of underutilized capacity and increase the productivity of the marina.

“In addition, providing more residential moorings will help meet the neighborhood housing goals and also provide affordable accommodation in a sustainable location.

“The increased occupancy and footfall will also benefit businesses that do business at the marina.”

At the meeting, which took place this week, Steffan Saunders, the council’s chief planning officer, said: “I am not concerned that this will undermine the initial vision for the site as a tourism and leisure destination. “

He said the demand for more residential boat accommodation “cannot realistically be located elsewhere” in the district.

Mr Saunders said the impact on services would be less than traditional accommodation, expecting houseboats to be occupied by families, but rather by singles, people. couples and older people.

The request was approved by councilors unanimously.

The building permit for the marina was granted in 2007 and there was an initial authorization for 12 residential moorings on the site – which has now been multiplied by 30.

The documents filed by the owners specify that the site has more than 900 parking spaces with a number of charging points for electric vehicles.

There are 90 bicycle parking spaces and a 50 bicycle sharing system for residents of the marina.

The site has three sanitary blocks comprising 12 showers, 15 toilets and three laundry rooms.

There are 122 storage sheds for residents and there are over 30 vacation lodges, with plans for more.

The main marina complex houses a number of shops, offices and restaurants.


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