Boston’s waterways are to become the focus of a major regeneration, after a £3 million marina project was given the go-ahead by planners.
The River Witham off Fenside Road will be transformed into a 161-berth basin with facilities including a restaurant, shops and workshops once work is completed, which the developer says should be within eight months.
The plans have been hailed as an opportunity to harness the potential of one of the great assets in the area, and a step towards regenerating the town as a whole. They form the the cornerstone of the Fens Waterways Link, which aims to connect waterways in the area and boost tourism.
At Boston Borough Council’s planning meeting yesterday (Tuesday), where the development was unanimously approved, council leader Peter Bedford said: “This is an exciting development for Boston, and justifies the county council putting £11 million funding up for the Boston Barrier and the waterways.”
Coun Yvonne Gunter added: “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Boston to open up for tourism. I think it will put us on the map.”
Plans for the marina have been altered since they were first submitted last year as a result of concerns raised by residents and nearby sports clubs, including Boston Rowing Club, which was worried about the safety of other river users.
Captain Jeff Elms said: “We welcome the proposal. We would really like to see development and the more people that use the river the better, but we want to make sure that when it happens they think about the users.”
At the meeting, resident Graham Johnson told the committee he and his neighbours were worried about the are becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour, as there will be a wild flower meadow which is open to the public. However, authority planning officers said there would be sufficient CCTV trained on the site to deter that sort of thing.
Coun Derek Richmond added: “I think with the amount of light there will be in an area like this it will have the obvious advantage of deterring people. It will be illuminated all the time.”