Demands for public inquiry after big waves stop boats using Dover’s new marina


There are calls for a public inquiry into a new multi-million pound marina in the port of Dover.

The marina is currently empty because the port authorities deemed the waters too rough to moor boats.

Activists described it as a “disaster”, with one resident asking “How did they do it so badly?”

Although they appear to be completed in 2019, port officials deemed the waves too high in bad weather.

Pontoons where boats would be tied up float in the water, so too much swell can pose a safety concern and risk damaging vessels.

A computer generated image of what the marina was supposed to look like, complete with boats. Credit: Port of Dover

A local councilor is now calling for a public inquiry to establish exactly how the flawed design was approved and how much it cost.

Cllr Edward Biggs of Dover District Council (Labor) told ITV News Meridian that “concerns were raised” about the original design, but were dismissed by the port council.

He called the decision “complete arrogance on their part”.


The new marina is an integral part of the £ 250million Western Docks Revival project. It is designed to one day accommodate the private boat currently born in the existing marina.

The port of Dover is currently authorization request build a 70-meter steel wave barrier in the harbor, in an attempt to protect the entrance.

This is the second attempt to remedy the problem, with a smaller 14 meter “internal wave screen” completed last year.

Unlike the previous barrier, the proposed “external wave screen” would not be attached to the existing wharf or jetty, but would be built on the seabed.

Planning documents indicate the location of the new 70-meter “external wave screen” near the entrance to the new marina. Credit: Port review order

Campaigners opposed to seabed dredging off the Kent coast at Sands of Goodwin say the issues with the tide modeling for the new marina have raised questions about similar work being done for the port council.

Joanna Thomson is an activist with the group ‘Goodwin Sands SOS’.

She told ITV News Meridian: “This calls into question the competence of the consultants on the Dover Harbor Board.

“From our point of view, it’s really worrying, because these are the same consultants who did the modeling for the Goodwin Sands dredging.



One of the consultants involved in tidal modeling is HR Wallingford.

Company Engineering Director Ian Cruickshank said: “HR Wallingford is working with the Port of Dover Council to help assess the wave conditions in Dover Marina and any improvements that could be made.

“The Port of Dover has now submitted a Planning Application (Port Review Order) to implement these improvements. “

The largest Renaissance of the Western Quays The project has already seen a new jetty open to the public and plans for a new hotel on “Marina Curve” were approved at the end of 2021.

The new marina is the centerpiece of a larger redevelopment of much of the port of Dover.

Officials declined to say how much the new barrier will cost or when they expect the new marina will be able to accommodate boats.

The Port of Dover declined our request for an interview, but in a statement, a spokesperson said:

“Despite the challenges we faced, first due to the trade uncertainty associated with Brexit, and later with COVID-19, good progress has been made on the new marina, including the construction of roads to access, parking, large public space, sanitary facilities and in particular addressing the swell situation that has happened to occur very occasionally in specific weather conditions.

“We built the inner wave wall first, which has resulted in a significant improvement.

“The Port of Dover has consulted the community throughout the Western Quayside Revitalization Project, including our berth holders, the statutory Port and Community Forum (PCF) and more broadly with organizations such as the RYA, from which there was a positive dialogue. The swell issue was well publicized and shared with these stakeholders.

“We are delighted that there is still great enthusiasm for the move to the new marina and are also delighted that planning permission has recently been granted for the development of the Curve Marina, meaning those who will be based in the new marina will enjoy new waterfront bars, cafes and restaurants in the years to come.

“We continue to work for a successful transition to the new marina. “

The Department of Transportation declined to comment on calls for a public inquiry into the development of the marina.

A public consultation on the latest plans for a new wave screen ends January 22, 2022.



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