Seafront traders plan marina to scupper disputed sea wall

SEAFRONT businesses are fighting North Somerset Council's plans for a sea wall by putting in a planning application for a marina

SEAFRONT businesses are fighting North Somerset Council's plans for a sea wall by putting in a planning application for a marina.Martin Woolls, who runs the Bristol Queen ferry in Weston, has drawn up a plan for Weston Bay featuring a marina, a breakwater and a new harbour wall out at sea.Mr Woolls believes the scheme would be a huge boost to the town, attracting yachtsmen, tourists and businesses and the plans are due to be submitted to North Somerset later this month.Spokesman for the seafront traders, Chris Kimitri, said: "We've got all the seafront behind it. Once we get planning permission, looking for funding will be the next stage. Some money will come from private investment and some from Government funding. We believe there are various sources of funding which the council did not look into."We will fight the sea wall all the way. We feel Weston has been sold short again."The council's plans for a secondary splash wall were approved in December and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced last week it will be ploughing millions of pounds into the scheme.Protestors cannot appeal against the decision but North Somerset councillor Mike Bell, who supports a marina and breakwater scheme, believes the seafront traders need to sit down with councillors to try and come up with a better solution for Weston.He said: "I'm not sure the right course of action is to go through the planning process at this stage. It's going to take weeks or months and it will be expensive and time-consuming for the traders and council officers and at the end of the day chances are it won't get planning permission because it's not a fully developed plan. But that said I do support the principle behind it."What I've advised the traders is that they should call the council's bluff. A number of councillors and officers have said we could have both a sea wall and a marina and I think if that's the case someone should ask when the marina plan will be started. We need to give people the opportunity to sit around the table and work together, it's the only way something is going to happen."Brise Civils Ltd were approved as the developers for the sea defence scheme in April last year and the first phase of work will start between April and October after DEFRA hands over the money.The Marine Lake is due to be dredged in the first year and the causeway rebuilt and the rest of the work will be completed over the following two years.

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