Major new marina on UK South Coast

Thousands of tonnes of rock are being placed in Portland Harbour this week as work gathers pace on the new £21 million Portland Marina, in Dorset.

The 600-berth marina is part of the multi-million pound regeneration of Osprey Quay, a former naval base on Portland, and will involve 200,000 tonnes of Portland Stone being used to construct a new inner breakwater and to reclaim just under two acres of land from the sea.

UK marina operators Dean & Reddyhoff were selected by the South West of England Regional Development Agency to develop and operate the marina.

Portland Marina is a cornerstone of the RDA’s transformation of Osprey Quay into what they hope will be a major marine sector hub on the south coast.

It will be the largest leisure marina constructed in the UK since Dean & Reddyhoff built Haslar Marina back in 1993. The first phase of completion will be late summer next year.

Located to the south of the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, which will be the venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sailing events, the new marina will play a major role in supporting the Games with 250 of the marina’s berths used during the events.

Bruce Voss, head of operations for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole for the South West RDA, which bought Osprey Quay in 2000, said: “As well as offering top class facilities on the water and ashore, Portland Marina will include a range of units aimed at marine businesses. This mix of leisure and commercial uses will bring a year-round vibrancy to the waterfront and ensure a lasting legacy well after the 2012 Games.”

Richard Reddyhoff, director of Dean & Reddyhoff, which was selected by the RDA to build and operate the marina, said: “We expect the first phase of the marina to be open in 2008 for new berth holders and commercial tenants and be available for the world’s sailing elite for the first Olympic and Paralympic test weeks in 2010.

“There will be 250 berths available for the 2012 Games to accommodate safety boats, media vessels, official race boats and all other support craft required for such an event and we’re confident that Portland Marina will be among the best in Europe.”

Councillor Geoff Petherick, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s spokesman for employment and prosperity, said: “This development is part of the plan and vision for the future prosperity of Weymouth and Portland. As part of the legacy from hosting the sailing events for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are looking to attract both skilled marine and hi-tech companies, which will result in higher wages for local people.”

Over the last few weeks specialist contractor Walcon Marine, based in Fareham in Hampshire, has started sinking the first of 170 new pilings – each 14 metres long – into Portland Harbour to accommodate new pontoons for the marina.

The shore-based facilities will be built on land owned by the RDA while The Crown Estate has provided land in the harbour for the breakwater and reclamation part of the project.

The marina will include a new facilities building housing the marina offices, luxury washrooms, showers and laundry. A similar sized building alongside will include a bar and restaurant with a large balcony giving extensive and uninterrupted views over Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay beyond.

An integral part of the marina will be 40,000 sq ft of business and office accommodation, suitable for yacht brokers, chandlers, marine engineers and numerous other ancillary service companies. These premises are all available for lease, with most overlooking the marina itself. Leases on several key facilities buildings have already been sold to both local and new businesses to the area.

There will be car parking for approx 400 vehicles, extensive hard-standing area for yacht maintenance and winter storage and a boat hoist with 50 tonne capacity.