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High Prestige 400 Berth Yacht Marina
& Associated Development

RAMSEY BAY MARINA

Stashoon-birling Vaie Rhumsaa

Ramsey Bay images © IsleofmanbyDrone

Background

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.

Marine leisure tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors, especially in the British Isles having been beset by Brexit and Covid. Scotland has poured £200m into marine tourism in the last 5 years across 46 separate locations[1]. Our other neighbours are following suit in Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The marine leisure industry in Scotland now employs more people than the oil industry.

The Isle of Man sits at the epicentre of this massive investment and could leverage off it very easily. The Island economy needing revitalising, especially after Covid, and leisure tourism, and in particular marine tourism, must represent a huge opportunity for the Island. To attract this marine tourism to the Island, it is fundamental that the Island greatly improves its marine facilities. It is against this background that Board of Ramsey Marina Limited (“RML”) are proposing the marina.

Following recent social media comment, the RML wish to clarify their proposals for the marine leisure centre and marina in Ramsey, and address concerns that have been raised.

The Ramsey Bay Marina development has always been intended to provide a major public marine leisure centre for the entire population of the Island, with the beach facilitating increased leisure activities so that many more people can enjoy the pleasure of Ramsey Bay than at present. As a public facility, it will have no restrictions in terms of public access – it will be open for all to use and enjoy.

Inclusive and Sympathetic Design

Since RML first launched the project in 2019, much development of the design has taken place. The marina has, in effect, been rotated by 90 degrees anti-clockwise, opening up the gap between the Queen’s Pier and the marina, requiring only seven hectares (as opposed to 12 hectares previously) of the beach to be reclaimed. Four of these seven hectares will be a landscaped area for the public to use and walk their dogs at any stage of the tide with only three used for the development itself.

RML is proposing to create a new all-tide beach at the south-west corner of the development for general public use. It will be, in part, protected by a large public slipway, and look onto the Queen’s Pier. It would have disabled access to encourage its use by all residents.

The public slipway has been deliberately enlarged as RML foresees much demand for a protected all-tide launching ramp for RIBs and trailer fishing boats as well as other boating activities such as sailing, paddleboarding and sea rowing.

In short, the development is designed for individuals and families to enjoy the use of Ramsey Beach and the Bay.

Environmental Impact

RML is keenly aware that the proposed location is within the Ramsey Bay Marine Nature Reserve. In developing the concept, much attention has been paid to the environmental issues, particularly regarding the rock armour that will be used around the breakwater. Inevitably, with a structure such as this, the environment will be affected. In discussing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with potential consultants, it has been pointed out that rock armour breakwater is generally accepted as one of the best ways of creating a new marine eco-system both above and below water, and has been used successfully in many parts of the world. That is why artificial reefs are constructed. This will increase the number of spawning fish and crustaceans in the bay, as well as providing excellent breeding grounds for sea birds.

Ramsey’s eel grass has attracted a lot of comment, particularly given its ability to store carbon. There is no eel grass where the marina will be located. However, the eel grass is now seeding itself beside the Queen’s Pier and mooring dolphin, as the seeds have been “caught” by the structures. It therefore stands to reason that, with the tidal current heading northwards in the Bay for the 80% of the time, seeds will be carried along the toe of the breakwater. As with the nearby structures, eel grass is very likely to propagate along the toe of the breakwater.

A full EIA study will confirm these net benefits in the coming months.

Ramsey Flood Risk

RML has also taken into account the flood risk to Ramsey. A report commissioned by the Isle of Man Government[2] ranks Ramsey as the location that has the highest risk of flooding on the Island with a 1 in 10 year risk. The report’s assessment is that, if such a flood takes place, it would inundate over 1,000 properties at a cost of over £130m. Rising sea levels make this ever more likely in the decades to come.

The Department of Infrastructure released their proposals for the flood protection of Ramsey[3] which involve a new 7m high concrete seawall, and a 20m wide concrete and/or stone “apron”, designed to reduce wave action, along the length of South Beach. The estimated cost would be in the region of £10-15m, just for South Beach but that does not include anything north of the existing harbour entrance. The marina development would remove the need for the bulk of this work.

Funding & Economic Benefits

Many marinas around the UK are assisted with local government funding. As this is unavailable in the Isle of Man, the marina has, by necessity, to be a private sector initiative, and like most private sector marinas, a parallel development generates the means to pay for the structure of the marina. RML will only build the minimum number of residential units required to cover the cost of the breakwater and the marina.

In terms of benefits to the Island, based on reports for Scottish, Irish and Welsh marinas[4], as well as on input received from RML’s advisors, RML estimates that the development could generate between 200-300 jobs, and that the local economy and Ramsey shops, in particular, could benefit by up to £30m per annum of increased visitor expenditure. It is further estimated that increased VAT, NI and Income Tax arising from these figures would amount to between £50m and £60m during the first 10 years of the marina operation, generating positive income for the Island’s Treasury.

Skilled engineering jobs would be created to support the maintenance and repair of the recreational vessels. An existing example is the Wight Shipyard in the Isle of Wight, which was run down and unoccupied for some 40 years, but now employs 120 skilled craftsmen who work alongside around 20 apprentices.

In short Ramsey would become a major centre of excellence for marine engineering in the northern Irish Sea, attracting and retaining younger generations and supporting the Government’s aim to make the Island a great place to live and work.

Social Benefits

In addition to the economic benefits and enhanced leisure opportunities outlined above, the proposed Ramsey Bay Marina will deliver a number of social benefits including the establishment of a new charity, the National Maritime Sports Centre (“NMSC”) which will provide all types of marine training from beginners up to those wanting professional qualifications for sea-going jobs.

RML is also working on setting up the IoM Community Youth Trust. This will bring together all the various organisations providing physical activities for the disabled and deprived on the Island, offering activity holidays on land and at sea and the potential to move into marine careers.

Having this sort of leisure facility will also attract new younger residents to the Island and address the issues of falling birth rates and an ageing population. It would provide greater incentive for younger people to stay on the Island.

Now that Covid has somewhat abated and life has returned to some sense of normality, RML believes that it is time to move the project forward as a major element in the economic recovery of the Island. Work will shortly begin on a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment which will take four to six months.

Notes

RAMSEY MARINA

KEY POINTS

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

Access

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.

Target Customers

• 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.

Development (Commercial)

• 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.

Development (Residential)

• 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.
• Large slipway.
• Dinghy and car parks.

Queen’s Pier

Transition area to allow direct access to the Victorian Pier.

Environmental

• 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

ROBIN BROMLEY-MARTIN

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

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.

PETER GREENLEES

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.