The Knowle Society’s view on various marina proposals

Several proposals for a marina on the Grand Union canal in Knowle have been doing the rounds in recent months – our Planning sub-committee gives a view on these proposals. One of these, the proposal for a Marina off Stripes Hill behind Wyndley Garden Centre has now (April 2008) been submitted as an Outline Planning Application. Comments are invited from members using the Society’s new Forum – link to it from the home page.

For some time now, there has been talk of the possibility of the construction of a marina in Knowle to serve the many boat owners who use the canals locally. The first the planning sub-committee got to hear of this was over a year ago when it was intimated that landowners and British Waterways were considering submitting an application affecting land lying approximately west of the canal at the locks and behind Wyndley garden centre.

At first glance we thought this was ill-conceived and intrusive in the Green Belt but on reflection, and bearing in mind the slightly more lenient way that leisure facilities are treated in the Green Belt, we felt it was at least worthy of some consideration. If a case can be made that such a facility is needed by boat owners in Knowle, then this may be the best place for it. It would be at least near the area most associated with boats in Knowle and the fields in question are not the most scenic or necessarily particularly wildlife friendly. Nonetheless, we would certainly wish to keep ‘our powder dry’ on this one pending any application.

The next area we heard was being considered was the field next to the canal at the bottom of Kixley Lane. The owner requested a meeting with the planning committee to discuss his plans but was told that he would be wasting his time. In our view this spot is totally unsuited for such a large development. Kixley Lane is the oldest ‘street’ in Knowle being at least 700 years old and is now narrow and unsuitable for the inevitable increase in traffic.

Lastly at the present time is the proposition which many Knowle residents will know about, having been the subject of a public exhibition at the ‘Greswolde’ in February. The proposal would affect land at the bottom of the continuation of Jacobean Lane by the side of the bridge near Grove Farm. The plan would involve the construction of an access way from Jacobean Lane and would mostly affect residents of that lane and Wychwood Avenue. There has already been considerable campaigning locally and I think it fair to say that the people living nearest to the site have, as would be expected, been most vociferous in their opposition.

Initially it was intimated that the proposal would be submitted at the end of February or beginning of March but time has gone on and perhaps the applicants are having a re-think. Certainly the planning sub-committee will only make up their minds as to their attitude when the final plans are submitted. In the meantime, should any member or indeed any Knowle resident have views on the matter please feel free to contact Peter Ewin, chairman of planning of the Society.