Sandy Bay scores poorly in marina facilities study

SANDY Bay, which is regarded by a majority on Larne Borough Council as the “only hope” for marine leisure facilities in Larne, was ranked bottom of a list of potential marina locations in the borough.

As reported in the Larne Times last week, the local authority commissioned consultants Scott Wilson to carry out a feasibility study into the potential for marina and watersports provision.

They came up with a list of five potential sites at Curran Point, Magheramorne, Howden’s Quay, Sandy Bay and an extension at the council-owned marina at Glenarm.

The Times has seen a copy of the report, which scores each site on a points-based system. The consultants took a number of factors into consideration at each location, such as the potential for physical regeneration, economic benefits, impact on the community, planning and environmental compliance and utility to visiting boats.

Each was scored from 0-5, with 0 being no benefit and five being optimum benefit, and then the scores were tallied up. The consultants deemed an extension of Glenarm marina to be the best option, with an overall score of 19. In contrast, Sandy Bay was the lowest, scoring eight points. Howden’s Quay scored 14, while Curran Point and Magheramorne both scored 9.

Scott Wilson advised that the development of berthing at Howden’s and Glenarm were “most likely to bring a range of social and economic benefits to the borough”.

“This is mainly as a result of there being space that provides potential for marina-related resources, the jobs associated with these, and the physical regeneration that the projects would provide to areas that have been identified as needing a new future,” the report added.

Sandy Bay performed badly when it came to planning and environmental compliance, with the consultants allocating a mark of 0.

“The score of 0 reflects the fact that the planning application submitted for Sandy Bay was refused,” the report stated.

The council has ruled out an extension at Glenarm marina, which would conflict with the village plan. Developers at the other listed sites have lodged no plans for marina development.

At the January meeting of the council’s development committee, Ald Roy Beggs said the low scoring of Sandy Bay was “entirely a matter for the consultants”. He maintained it was “the only realistic location”, adding that it was the only one where an interest in marina development had been demonstrated.