A stunning new 141-berth marina which will incorporate a host of facilities for boaters, is nearing completion in an exceptionally picturesque location on the River Nene in Earls Barton, between Wellingborough and Northampton.
The marina is the brainchild of local farmers John and Debbie Skinner, who were looking to provide much needed moorings to promote the use of the navigable Nene. It is hoped that the marina will bring increased levels of business and tourism, which will benefit the local area.
According to John and Debbie Skinner: “The idea of creating a marina was first conceived several years ago following a family brain storming session around our kitchen table.
“At that time, the field which is now the site of White Mills Marina was used for grazing, however it had become increasingly obvious that the best outcome for the picturesque riverside field was if things were to change. And at last, that is exactly what is happening.
“We are thoroughly looking forward to welcoming boats of all shapes and sizes to our brand new purpose built facility. We know everyone who visits will soon see for themselves what a fabulous and stunningly beautiful river the Nene really is.”
The marina will be able to accommodate cruisers, narrow boats and wide beam boats.
Facilities at the marina will include showers, toilets, a laundry room, offices, a reception area, a tea room and a communal lounge – all for exclusive use by boaters, as well as a security system to ensure berths are secure, and Wi-Fi internet.
Lead management consultants for the scheme are Leisure and Marina Consultancy Ltd, who praised main contractors Land & Water Marina Developments for ‘doing an excellent job’ – together with the rest of the construction team. Elite Precast also played a key role in the project.
Mark Jenkinson, managing director of Leisure & Marina Consulting, who is managing all aspects of the project, said: “We have been working with an exceptional team – especially Land & Water – who have done an excellent job in tough conditions.”
“The marina was created on an arable field with some underlying minerals. The original design was based on sheet piling, but this took the project over budget, so we had to come up with a scheme which would work financially, but also stand the test of time.
“The solution was to construct the marina base in reinforced concrete block with impermeable bunding, which had to be rolled and compacted in 150m layers. This method was selected because flood storage compensation was required to the rear of the bund, so the bund had to be constructed using material that minimised its size around the marina.”
Other works include the installation of floating jetties, complete with tubular piling within the marina, and the installation of sheet piling to form the entrance to the marina from the River Nene.
Further works include the construction of a temporary facilities building for moorers, with a permanent building scheduled for construction within the coming months. The permanent building will be constructed with timber elevations and roof to blend aesthetically with the surrounding natural environment.
In addition, the scheme includes the installation of all services to the site, including water, electricity Wi-Fi and telecoms, as well as card-operated bollards which will be located next to the moored boats.
“The build programme has involved a whole raft of specialist teams coming together and working within a programmed timescale in quite difficult conditions which are heavily affected by the weather. Careful programming of schedules and windows of work are therefore required,” said Mark Jenkinson.
He added that a steady flow of enquiries for moorings at the new marina are already coming in and the development has a great following on the social media including Twitter and Facebook.
Business development manager at Land and Water, Jayne Hornsby said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the delivery team for White Mills Marina.
“John and Debbie Skinner clearly believe in the project 100 per cent. For them it is not just a marina they are creating but a legacy that will provide the area with a much needed service and leisure facility.”