Visitors to Sutton Harbour will notice an unusual guest next week (4th March) with the arrival of a 36 metre piling barge that will be carrying out essential maintenance in the harbour.
The vessel, which is 10 metres wide, will be removing 16 old piles and installing new ones as part of a £240,000 improvement programme by marina owners Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc.
The work includes the removal of the old Marrowbone slip pontoons and piles on the eastern side of the harbour and reconfiguring some berths to offer greater flexibility in accommodating a range of vessels up to 22 metres.
The work, which has been licensed by the Marine Management Organisation and is expected to take up to three weeks, will see the weekday closure of the pedestrian waterfront walkway at East Quays between 8am and 6pm. Diversions will be posted.
Marina manager Mark Brimacombe said: “This work is part of our ongoing investment to transform Sutton Harbour into a national destination.
“Some of the pontoons and piles have reached the end of their lives so we are removing those and taking the opportunity to reconfigure some of our berths. This will give us greater flexibility, for vessels of all sizes. By creating an open area of water on the eastern side of the Harbour it will also be more accessible and easier to clean, so there will be important environmental benefits.”
Sutton Harbour Marina has 460 berths and last year was awarded five Gold Anchors – the highest possible – by the Yacht Harbour Association in recognition of the quality of its facilities and customer service.
Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc recently unveiled a £4 million project to transform the North West corner of the Harbour with a new boardwalk comprising waterside family restaurants and shops, connecting Guys Quay and Vauxhall Quay and creating 120 jobs. Plans have been submitted to Plymouth City Council.
The Boardwalk project is the first major stage of a £75 million masterplan launched by the company last year which outlines new restaurants, cafés, shops, offices and apartments on underused sites around the Harbour, creating a waterfront destination to rival the likes of Albert Dock in Liverpool and St Katharine Docks in the City of London.
And work has recently started on Sutton Harbour Holdings’ £4 million 171-berth King Point Marina at Millbay in Plymouth, which is scheduled to open in late summer.
Jason Schofield, chief executive of Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc, said: “Our marina projects represent a further substantial investment by Sutton Harbour Holdings in Plymouth’s waterfront and will reinforce the city’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading marine and tourist destinations, creating jobs and boosting the visitor economy."