KTS letter to Marine Management Organisation re: Outer Harbour Development
Marine Management Organisation
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 7YH 26th October 2013
We are writing in response to the Notice of the above Application in the Argus (Brighton newspaper) on 11 October 2013 relating to proposed works in the Brighton Marina. You must consider the Application not only as the body tasked with regulating works in UK coastal waters, but also as the successor to the Board of Trade given responsibility under the Brighton Marina Act 1968 (BMA) and successor to Natural England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)
1) Kemp Town Society (KTS) ‘Person having an interest’
As a conservation society we represent members living in, above and immediately to the west of the Marina. Whilst the Application does not have direct conservation effects the projected development as a whole does, affecting the setting of the Grade I Listed Kemp Town Estate and directly affects our members and as such we have a legitimate interest and are entitled to make representations.
2) Creation of Marine Hazards
Potential hazards risk being created by:
• restricting the size and depth of navigable channels in the outer harbour;
• reducing the size of the outer harbour by building out over it;
• constructing a group of tall buildings immediately adjacent to the outer harbour creating wind tunnels and vortexes;
• building piles in the outer harbour in place of a shelving beach;
• creating a swing bridge over the outer harbour entrance which will have limited opening times whereby the entrance to the harbour will be made potentially unsafe for boats entering and leaving the harbour, especially in high winds, and especially sailing boats having no or a defective engine. This should not be permitted in coastal waters adjacent and within an intended safe harbour.
3) Contrary to the primary purpose of the Brighton Marina Act 1968
It is also contrary to the principal purpose of the Brighton Marina Act (BMA) which authorised the building of the Brighton Marina on land reclaimed from the sea. The BMA preamble states ‘whereas the sport of yachting, cruising and boating is expanding and is likely to continue to expand around the south coast of England and it would be of public and local advantage to increase the existing facilities therefore at Brighton…..‘ This is the stated purpose of the BMA and, under its terms, the largest marina was created on the South Coast, ideally situated for shelter between Dover and the Solent.
BMA Section 24 – (1) states ‘A tidal work shall not be constructed, altered, extended, enlarged, replaced or relaid except in accordance with plans and sections approved by the Board of Trade and subject to any conditions and restrictions imposed by the Board before the work is begun‘.
BMA Section 57 (4) specifies the depth of water within the opening of the harbour.
BMA by its approved plans stipulated the areas where buildings might be erected. The buildings granted planning consent in 2006 appear to extend outside these areas in contravention of the BMA.
The Application, by creating potential navigation hazards and by removing 80 berths from the inner harbour, decreases the existing facilities for leisure boating in direct contravention of the primary purpose of the BMA. The erection of the buildings outside the approved areas changes the emphasis of the Marina from a marina to a housing estate which was never envisaged by Parliament and is a breach of the purpose and provisions of the BMA. We ask that the MMO should fulfil the functions it inherited from the Board of Trade and refuse this application.
4) Application not made until after works started.
The Application was only made after drilling and other preparation work had commenced in the Outer Harbour either due to ignorance of, or disregard for, the requirements of the BMA (Section 24 (1)). The advertisement was defective in claiming documents were available in Brighton Library – they were not initially – so consultees were disadvantaged.
5) Maritime Conservation Zone
The views of the white cliffs. are so valued that the area is now included in the South Downs National Park. The Marina whilst not part of the National Park, abuts it on the east side. It is included in the Maritime Conservation Zone (MCZ) which stretches east from Brighton. As such it has special protection in recognising and protecting the wellbeing promoted by natural areas and their economics and heritage. The Marine hazards referred to above will affect the local fishing trade as well as yachtsmen. The shadows cast by the tall buildings will affect the restaurants where clients can presently relax in the sun. This will affect local economic wellbeing. In addition the Marina is a part of the setting of one of the most important heritage assets in the area – the Grade I Listed Kemp Town Estate unique in England for being the only Grade I estate on the coast.
The Marina has many important natural species: Starlings flock there; cormorants fish there; herring gulls roost there; short-snouted seahorses have been seen there. The most recent identification was made by the Sea Horse Trust from a film made in this summer, and there have been consistent reports of sea-horse sightings during this and previous years. Protection for Spiny and Short-snouted Seahorses was added to the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) in 2008 so their habitat can only be disturbed under licence, and provided that such licences would normally only be issued if there is a conservation, educational or scientific benefit. There is no such benefit in the Application.
For all these reasons we ask the MMO to protect the ecosystem, economic wellbeing and historic fabric of this important MCZ and refuse this application.
6) Importance of consideration of local views
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process.
MSP also provides a framework for arbitrating between competing human activities and managing their impact on the marine environment. Its objective is to balance sectoral interests and achieve sustainable use of marine resources in line with the EU Sustainable Development Strategy.
The Marina is in danger of becoming a focus only for high-rise housing and ignoring the legitimate aspirations of the many other activities that were envisaged by the BMA and for which it was created. The concentration of high-rise buildings will obscure the amenity of natural unimpeded views of the sea and coast, diminishing important amenity values unnecessarily for generations to come.
7) English Heritage (EH)
The EH: Strategic and Environment Assessment (SEA), Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and the Historic Environment Report recognises the irreplaceable nature of heritage assets and the wider historic environment and the implications of this finite quality:
• Appreciating the multi-faceted sustainability benefits of the historic environment as an environmental and cultural asset, but also an important driver for economic development and delivering social objectives;
Identifying, and appropriately conveying, the dual nature of the concept of its significance when analysing the historic environment during the SEA/SA process.
• The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the UK Marine Policy Statement require that heritage assets are conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance(1).
• The SEA/SA process significance also relates to identifying and assessing the degree of effect in relation to the significance of heritage assets.(i.e. significant effects); because its heritage interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. The setting of a heritage asset can also contribute to its significance
The Application, should it proceed, will supplant the prized Kemp Town Estate as the dominant architectural set-piece in the area, thus diminishing its significance. This should not be ignored when considering developments in the Marina.
In making the above comments KTS has relied on statements made on the MMO website, the MCZ website and English Heritage website. We seek assurances from the MMO that they will consult with the national stakeholders and confirm their adherence to the provisions contained within the aforementioned policy statements as appearing on these websites. The Marina is a special and unique place in a special and unique location. This Application must be denied on the basis it contravenes the multiple policies inherent in UK law.
Paul Phillips, Chairman
Kemp Town Society