Ramsey Bay images © IsleofmanbyDrone
Ramsey has long been proposed as a suitable site for a yacht marina, but the various mooted projects have lapsed for differing reasons. The proposed Ramsey Bay Marina is different. It will be located outside the existing harbour between the harbour entrance and the Queen’s Pier. From a marine perspective it is different from all the other proposals, as it will provide 24/7 access in almost all weathers. Unlike the other proposals, as well as the marinas in Douglas and Peel, it will not have any tidal restrictions, lock gates or sills.
The Basic Concept
A new breakwater will run from the existing southerly breakwater out for some 350 metres due east before turning south-eastwards for a further 350 metres. The mooring area will be dredged and the sand extracted from the sea bed will be used to reclaim the beach to create residential and leisure areas.
Apart from the new breakwater, no material will be imported or exported. The marina will have a minimum water depth of 3m at Mean Low Water Springs and will be approached from the north-east by an approach channel, passing to the north of the existing dolphin located to the north of the Queen’s Pier. The water depth quickly deepens beyond the end of the pier to some 6 - 9m depth and therefore the approach channel will only be some 400 metres long and well-marked.
The dredging work will be specifically designed not to undermine the foundations of the pier, and there will be protection screens to shield the pier from any boats entering or leaving the marina.
Approximately 40% of the reclaimed area will be developed and mixed residential and commercial properties will be built in keeping with the Ramsey Urban Conservation Zone. The profits from the sale of such properties will be used to subsidise the costs of building the marina.
The total project cost is estimated to be in the region of £100m, of which 50% will come from the sale of the properties and the remaining 50% will be raised from the private sector.
The development will occupy the reclaimed land to the north of the bowling alley whilst at the south end a new yacht club will be built with full facilities to host international and national sailing events. It is hoped that up to 500 competitors, and their families, can be housed locally during such events.
In between there will be a large landscaped area that will not only provide a communal area for open air events but also a quiet area for walkers etc. Given the predominant prevailing wind from the south - west, the reclaimed area will be well protected by the surrounding hills.
The number of commercial properties will be kept to a minimum so as to maximise the visitor traffic to the town’s existing shopping areas. However, it is planned to have a boutique hotel - a key requirement for boat owners, whether visiting the town or as local boat owners, as well as chandlery stores and bars located around an open piazza type area. The hotel would face due south to take advantage of the stunning views of Maughold Head and the Island’s mountains.
Commercial and Economic Benefits to Ramsey
The marina would be one of the very few marinas in the Irish Sea providing year round protection and sheltered sailing waters. It is estimated that the marina will attract up to 10,000 additional visitors to Ramsey - and these are just the yachtsmen - each year, adding some £1m to the local GDP, as well as creating up to 300 FTE jobs.
With up to 400 boats in the marina, there will be opportunities to develop Ramsey into a “Centre of Marine Excellence” as the boats will provide significant maintenance business. Once a critical-mass of such skills has been achieved, Ramsey could provide restoration and other services that would further enhance skilled employment in the town and revive its maritime heritage.
The marina could also provide 24-hour access and mooring for the town’s fishing fleet.
The promoters of the marina are very much aware of the Ramsey Bay Marine Conservation Area, and wish to enhance the local environmental aspects as much as possible. In building the breakwaters, a whole new marine ecosphere will be created enhancing the propagation of all sorts of fish. It is hoped that, as with some marinas in the Solent, the marina will be used to revive and propagate shellfish – including the nearly extinct Manx oyster - under the pontoons.
The marina intends to qualify for the British Marine Federation top environmental accreditation - known as the Gold Anchor Scheme. In short, the marina will greatly enhance Ramsey Bay’s environmental credentials.
The directors of the Ramsey Bay Marina have undertaken informal consultations with the major stakeholders and have met with almost total support for the project.
It is intended, now that the plans have been made public, to undertake a detailed consultation across the Island but predominantly in the North of the Island, prior to formally applying for planning permission and the other regulatory approvals required.
The public will be given every opportunity to express any ideas or concerns that they may have.
Building a marina on this scale is new to the Island and therefore there is no precedent to follow. There is a lot of pathfinding to be done. But it is hoped that work will start in 2020 or 2021, with initial occupancy 18 - 24 months later.
This marina project has been designed for the local community as a whole. It is designed to bring new economic opportunities and prosperity to the North of the Island and to Ramsey in particular. The promoters are undertaking this project out of a genuine desire to see Ramsey, and the Isle of Man prosper. They are mostly yachtsmen for whom the lack of proper yachting facilities on the Island is a major issue, and they are hoping to rectify this situation.
Coastal marinas, like that proposed for Ramsey, have brought huge prosperity to their local towns and villages all over the Irish Sea and on the West Coast of Scotland.
Beckett Rankine, a leading marine engineering consultancy, is advising on the marine aspects, and the Manser Practice (currently designing the Island’s ferry terminal in Liverpool for the DoI) are advising on the architectural aspects. Other advisors will be appointed to do the various technical studies required as well as the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Scope of Project
• Design and construct 400 berth yacht marina with associated development:
• New Breakwater as part of a 650M Pier Extension
• Reclamation of 12 hectares of beach
• Residential & commercial development of 5 hectares
• Landscaped gardens
• New yachting facilities & yacht club
24/7 access without lock gates or other tidal barriers.
Yacht Repair Facilities
To be developed at existing boat-park and shipyard inside existing harbour
Permanent resident owners (who might own marina property as well)
(Marine) Day/Weekend visitors from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
• 6000 yachts moored within one day’s sail from Ramsey
Passage yachts transiting Irish Sea from South Coast to Scotland and back International yacht races
Cruising flotillas organised by Ocean Cruising Club, Clyde Cruising Club and many local sailing clubs/berth holders associations within 50 mile radius
National, regional and international sailing championships in Ramsey Bay
5 Star Boutique Hotel (Independent Concession)
Piazza with bars and restaurants
Designed for maximum year round use
Artisan, Farmers Market & Produce Fairs
Open Air Exhibitions & Events
Restricted commercial activities, so as not to draw excessive commercial activity out of the existing shopping area.
200 residential units
Mixed apartments and townhouses (some with own private moorings)
Properties to have underground car park
To be tied into neighbouring conservation area architecturally
Middle Open Area
Area to be landscaped and suited to outdoor events
Access to the beach to the south
Yacht Club and associated Facilities
New Yacht Club & marina offices to be located near marina entrance
Dinghy and car parks
Transition area to allow direct access to the Victorian Pier
Within Ramsey Bay Conservation Area (marina is not a prohibited activity)
Create maritime ecosystem in the breakwater itself
Propagate near extinct native Manx oyster within marina
Will become Gold Anchor accredited with Yacht Harbour Association/British Marine Federation
RAMSEY MARINA LTD TEAM
A resident of St Judes, Robin Bromley-Martin has been involved with the sea all his life, whether professionally or as an international yachtsman. He is son of a Naval Officer and was christened on his father’s ship, HMS Glory, in Portsmouth Dockyard. He grew up on the shores of Chichester Harbour, learning to sail at a very early age. Professionally he is a civil engineer with an MBA from INSEAD in France. He has been involved with marine projects nearly all his career all over the world, and presently is CEO and major shareholder of a company building three major ports in West Africa for handling containers and supporting offshore drilling rigs. More recently he has, as a private consultant, undertaken a variety of studies to do with ferry services within the British Isles. Robin grew up racing every type of dinghy and day boat in the Solent, but his offshore racing career started in 1971 with the Fastnet Race, the year he was elected to the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London. Since then he has crewed, skippered or navigated dozens’ of boats all over the world. In 1992, he was elected to the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. When Robin moved to the Isle of Man in 2012, he was disappointed to find so little sailing infrastructure, when places like Ramsey offered such ideal sailing waters. Thus his concept of a Ramsey Marina started to develop in late 2017, and with a wide network of professional contacts with expertise in marine construction and leisure industries, Robin is well placed to lead this exciting strategy.
David Dorricott, who lives in Maughold, first visited the Isle of Man as part of a sailing visit – and in 1997 moved the AFD Group business to Ramsey. As the business has grown and developed, it has remained committed to the North of the Island, investing in many commercial and charitable projects. He has served on the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce ICT Committee for around 20 years. During the past 21 years, David has continued to sail the Irish Sea, Ireland and Scottish West Coast on one of the few yachts based in Ramsey, and has extensive experience of most of the sailing destinations within these areas. Between 2006 and 2011 he represented Ramsey Chamber of Commerce on the Ramsey Marina Consultation committee, which culminated in overwhelming public support for a Ramsey Marina. The AFD Group is currently located at the Mountain View Innovation Centre, just outside Ramsey, and is engaged in developing the derelict Film Studios site into a vibrant technology and media park sharing its facilities with a variety of community and business initiatives. The AFD Group employs around 200 people, including almost 50 at its HQ site.
Peel-based Peter Greenlees is the founder and creative director of Greenlees & Grant. After working and gaining experience in London after finishing his Art Degree in 1991, he has been producing award-winning designs for almost three decades. His creative thinking and design craft has helped numerous clients to create or refine brand expressions that cut through the noise created by the competition. He has worked for many national and international clients including: Asda, BOC, Boots, Cadbury’s, Crown Paints, Dunlop, Elida Faberge (Rexona, Sure), Halfords, Hoover, Hyundai, Imperial Tobacco, Kodak, Lloyds-TSB, National Orange, Panasonic, PwC, Reckitt Benckiser to name but a few. More recently Peter has developed professional working relationships with several Island businesses along with DEFA and DfE. His wife grew up on the Island from the age of 4, so when an opportunity to return to teach came in 2017 they jumped at the chance.