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Marina plan is dead in the water

PUBLISHED: 09:13 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:33 03 July 2010

THE dream of transforming a rundown area of Yarmouth riverside into a multimillion-pound marina appears to be over.

Essex firm Landfast Anglia had been negotiating for a number of years to deliver the scheme on 22 acres of derelict land in Cobholm, but its option agreement to buy a key part of the site from the borough council has expired.

THE dream of transforming a rundown area of Yarmouth riverside into a multimillion-pound marina appears to be over.

Essex firm Landfast Anglia had been negotiating for a number of years to deliver the scheme on 22 acres of derelict land in Cobholm, but its option agreement to buy a key part of the site from the borough council has expired.

Landfast boss Bob Curry, whose firm has been responsible for a major housing development in Cobholm, said: “I am extremely disappointed. We are not walking away from the area but I don't think the marina will happen now.”

He described the loss of the scheme, which had been predicted to bring up to 100 jobs and a massive injection of cash to the local economy from visiting yachtsmen, as a “missed opportunity for the town”.

He added: “I am very angry. I don't want to say too much at the moment but our arguments will come out in the next two or three months.”

The site forms part of one of the action areas of 1st East, the Yarmouth and Lowestoft urban regeneration company, and as recently as 14 months ago its chief executive, Philip Watkins, had been optimistic about the marina becoming its first regeneration success.

He put down the failure of the scheme primarily to the developer's inability to make it stack up financially without it including an unacceptably dense housing component.

Mr Watkins said they were still confident the area could be the focus for one of 1st East's first successes, and they were actively helping prospective developers by spending about £40,000 on a land contamination study and traffic analysis to see what scale of development would be feasible with the current road infrastructure.

Tim Howard, the borough council's head of regeneration, confirmed that Mr Curry's option agreement on the land - which had already been extended once to give him more time - had now ended.

He agreed that the scheme's housing density and pressure on the already-strained road infrastructure had been key considerations.

As well as a marina and homes, the scheme would have included shops and leisure facilities.

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