Cheshire farmers splash out on marina

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A NEW £2.7m marina with moorings for over 200 boats has just opened in the village of Audlem in Cheshire after receiving funding of £400,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

Overwater Marina, near Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal, opened on July 24th providing 206 long term and 21 visitor moorings for narrow boats.

The marina and facilities on Cool Lane were built by Janet and Angus Maugham, who run an adjoining farm. They were helped with their funding application to diversify from dairy farming by the North West Regional Development Agency. Planning consent for the marina , which includes a boat workshop, a tearoom and a small shop, was granted in January 2009.

“The marina needed a serious financial and personal investment from my family over the last few years but it has been a labour of love,” said Janet Maugham.

She added that the marina would help to boost canal tourism in the area. There are now a record 32,000 registered boats on Britain’s canals and rivers and demand has been increasing at a rate of 2.6 per cent over the past 15 years.

As a result, many existing inland marinas have long waiting lists and boat owners have no option but to park their boats on the waterways themselves. Brtitish Waterways is encouraging the development of marinas to keep canals and rivers unobstructed.
“There is a significant shortfall in the number of marina moorings available on the canal network compared to the demand and Overwater will help to meet this need,” said Maugham.

“We are already getting lots of bookings from boaters and we are thrilled that the marina is finally open. I would like to thank the NWDA for helping us achieve our ambition.”

David Hunter, Head of Rural Development at the NWDA, said: “The Overwater Marina is an excellent example of a rural business coming up with an innovative scheme which will contribute to the economic sustainability of Audlem and will provide new rural jobs.”