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A marina on the Kennet and Avon Canal, just to the west of Freeman's Marsh was first proposed in the 1990s. The site had previously been an intensive pig unit run by Alan Holland.
Te initial proposals were for a canal boat basin, marina and hotel. Conditional planning permission was granted in 1993.
A further application was made in 1994, which now included overnight accommodation, and a heritage steam museum, a workshop/ chandlery and craft shops.
The proposal met with a variety of comments and mixed support, some people welcoming the improved and expanded use of the canal locally, whilst others were seriously worried about the possible detrimental effect on wildlife, especially in the highly sensitive area of the SSSI-designated Freeman's Marsh.
As an illustration of the strength of feeling, see "Marina fight 'will go all the way'", NWN 5 Feb 2004, and "Marina campaigners buoyed by planners' legal review decision", NWN 5 Feb 2004.
See "Marina with hotel may be scuppered", ,NWN 13 Oct 1994.
A firm application was put together in 2007. (See "New marina 'will be open by year's end'", NWN 29 Mar 2007).
In the spring 2013 issue of Chain Mail, the following article was printed, explaining the current situation:
Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited have acquired land at Hungerford with planning permission to develop an inshore marina.
Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited is a family owned company with 30 years experience developing and operating holiday and leisure parks. They said:
"We entered the inshore marina market in 2010 with three marinas in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire which sit alongside our portfolio of two residential and holiday parks in North Yorkshire and the Costa del Sol, Spain.
We are pleased to have acquired the site at Hungerford as it complements our portfolio of modern leading edge marinas in prime locations.
We are currently in the process of amending the original design; modernising the marina to a superior standard with emphasis on the marina basin. By removing the non-marina elements from the original design which included a hotel, restaurant and bar; spend from the marina clients will benefit the town and small local businesses.
We are currently in dialogue with the local planning authority and subject to planning and negotiations with the Canal and River Trust, we hope to be able to develop the site as soon as possible."
In Jan 2016, planners gave the go-ahead for a 120-berth marina. See "120-berth marina is given go-ahead", NWN 7 Feb 2016.
For further information about Lakeland Leisure Estates Limited, see www.lakelandleisuregroup.com
In Oct 2018 the NWN updated the situation, see "Clock ticking on marina deadline", NWN 18 Oct 2018 and "Costs could sink new marina", NWN 25 Oct 2018.
In Feb 2020 the NWN provided a further update, see "Bid to downsize 'unviable' marina", NWN 6 Feb 2020.
- The 2007 plans for the marina