Bringing a historic harbour back into use
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust
The Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust was set up in 2012 with the aim of restoring full use and access to the historic Northfleet Harbour, and improving facilities for traditional maritime craftsmanship, along with recreational and sporting facilities for residents and visitors at the site.
The Northfleet Harbour, situated at the mouth of the Ebbsfleet river, was first in use in Roman times, and was home to watermills from the Saxons to the Victorians. It also hosted the dawn of the cement industry. But despite these complex layers of marine, domestic and industrial heritage from 700 AD onwards, the site is now sadly derelict, cut off from the Thames by the flood barrier and much in need of sensitive restoration.
Because of our experience on projects like this both in the UK and around the world, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) and the Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust (NHRT) chose MDL Marina Consultancy to look at whether the site could be reopened as a community harbour and marina. Our role was to provide specialist advice on the marine leisure market, marina design, and financial viability of the project.
We worked alongside Peter Brett Associates (PBA) and Land Water Services Limited (LAWS) to supply engineering and contractor advice on technical viability and the cost of construction. PBA also gave us advice on the important environmental issues at the site, as well as researching the wider benefit of a marina in this location. We provided the marina market, design, and marina business skills.
We began by carrying out a market study to identify the likely mix of sizes of boats in the new marina, and the facilities which would be best for berth-holders and passing watercraft on this busy stretch of the Thames. Guided by the findings of the market study, we explored several layout options for flexibility, and to maximise benefits and access all the marina’s potential users.
Our recommended layout made best use of the site not only for marina berth-holders but also to provide space for reinstating traditional boat servicing facilities, large berths for historic watercraft, as well as state-of-the-art marina facilities. We provided a detailed projection of income and operating costs, and gave a range of investment outcomes based on different criteria.
Our study demonstrated that a marina at this location could potentially enhance the value of the surrounding developments by up to 20% and would account for an additional contribution (Gross Value Added) of up to around £5m to the local economy.
If you’ve got a marina project or development in mind, let’s discuss how we can help.
+44(0)23 8045 7155