A marina for Sidmouth?

PIONEERING plans for a marina at Port Royal in Sidmouth have been revived due to a groundswell of unsolicited popular support, according to the brains behind the historic project.

The Carter family, who run Exmouth Marina, say they are reconsidering their scheme for a 200 to 300 berth boat yard at the eastern end of Sidmouth beach.

Original plans for a wharf to include residential and retail units and parking were shelved several years ago.

“A lot of people have been asking if I would take up the idea again,” said Rowan Carter, whose 200-berth Exmouth Marina is full and has a long waiting list.

“There’s been strong interest and, in principle, I’m in favour.

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“If the climate was right and I felt people would support it, then we can try and make it happen.”

He added that strategic partners with a stake in the development have come forward to renew their interest, and all that’s needed is the support of the town council and local people.

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Mr Carter said the original plan was killed off by negative media coverage, and uncomplimentary comments about its safety from a former captain of the QE2 cruiseship, which he labelled as “scaremongering”.

“Not one to try and push water up a hill” and go against public opinion, the businessman has sensed that the mood in the town has changed in his favour due to the economic downturn.

“I think people have had second thoughts,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of job losses with the (district) council moving out of town and I think people have regretted that it (the marina) didn’t happen.”

The marina, which is only an idea at this stage, would provide vital jobs, boost tourism and protect the crumbling cliffs at Pennington Point from erosion, said Mr Carter.

It could link with the family’s existing marina at Exmouth, and potentially host vessels for the mooted Jurassic Coast sea bus.

“It’s just an idea and it’s up for discussion,” stressed Mr Carter.

“It’s too early to provide details at this stage.

“If people want it then we can work together to do it and I think it will be a good thing for the town.”

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