Mercia Marina buoyed by go-ahead for £1.7m waterside development

Mercia Marina’s plans for a waterside retail development with offices and a restaurant have been approved by South Derbyshire District Council.

The marina, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, submitted revised plans for the £1.7m Boardwalk development in May.

A previous planning application for The Boardwalk had already been given the green light last year, but the marina decided to add office space to its original retail-only proposal to suit the current commercial climate.

The Boardwalk will comprise a central restaurant, built over two floors and recessed to include an outdoor seating area on the water front. The restaurant will be flanked by three retail units on each side and the remaining upper floor space will include up to four small office units.

Mercia Marina already has already attracted two flagship retailers; The Butcher, The Baker, The Ice Cream Maker to operate a farm shop, and the clothing retailer Bluewater.

Robert Neff, general manager of Mercia Marina, said: “We’re delighted that the council has agreed to our latest plans. The Boardwalk will give yet another boost to the job market and local economy – not least with the additional visitor numbers the development will generate.

“We’re currently in the process of finalising the legal and financial details before we begin construction, but we hope to start building by the end of the year.”

The 74-acre Mercia Marina, which lies near to the South Derbyshire village of Willington, is Europe’s largest inland marina. Already more than 90 per cent full in terms of its 600 mooring berths, the marina has also seen sales of its luxury holiday lodges rocket in the last few months.

The Boardwalk is scheduled to open in Spring 2014, potentially creating up to 40 jobs.

Meanwhile, the marina is particularly interested in finding the right operator to take on the restaurant.

John Thornton, part-owner of Mercia Marina, said: “We set out five years ago to be the best inland marina in Europe – setting standards of quality that others would find difficult to match. We’ve pursued this goal ever since, with our buildings, landscaping, marina management and the high quality third-party businesses that operate on our site.

“It is extremely important to us that the restaurant in the new Boardwalk is of the same high standard, so we’d love to hear from interested operators who share our philosophy.”

The 120-cover restaurant will cater for lunchtime and evening trade for boaters and visitors alike.