Premier Marinas announces major re-development of its Noss-on-Dart Marina

Published on: 20 April 2017

British Marine member, Premier Marinas, is set to submit its plans for the redevelopment of Noss on Dart marina. The £75m proposed investment in the site will be one of the largest infrastructure investments in the Dartmouth area for decades.

Premier Marinas acquired Noss on Dart in March 2016 after the previous owner went into administration. The Noss site comprises 37 acres of valuable foreshore and woodland but Premier’s interest remains steadfastly on the marina. CEO Pete Bradshaw explained: "We are unlike traditional developers in mixed use sites of this type, as we are first and foremost marina owners and operators. We approach this project with the aspiration to deliver the UK’s finest marina and the location certainly warrants that."

But what’s also different about Premier is that it will not need to borrow from banks to develop Noss, and once completed, they will  continue to own and operate the majority of the site - with all profits supporting the charitable aims of their owner the Wellcome Trust, the second largest charitable foundation in the world!

Pete Bradshaw adds: "Our guiding principle for the success of our business - and Noss on Dart - is to make sure that our berth holders enjoy their time in our marinas and key to that is customer service; we focus on every aspect of our facilities, from parking to quality shower facilities and site security, all with the aim of enhancing our customers’ boating experience.

"We bought Noss simply because it’s breathtakingly beautiful and that, along with the local cruising grounds, is what drives our customer’s choice of where to berth their boat. We recognise that Noss is a challenging site, 37 acres in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and we’re sensitive to the constraints that creates. But we’ve successfully completed these projects before at our other marinas.’ (Premier owns and operates 8 other south coast marinas including Chichester marina, also located in an AONB. Pete Bradshaw continued ‘Noss on Dart is currently in a poor state with unsafe and seriously dilapidated buildings and pontoons that are held together by love, care and money. It’s vital that we do something with it within 2 years or the opportunity will be lost."

Thanks to the site’s heritage and topography, bringing Premier’s dreams and schemes together into a plan was relatively straight forward because Noss lends itself so well to the proposed development.  The marina, boatyard, hotel and residential development naturally fit the site’s environment.

Premier’s plans were drawn up after extensive consultation with the local community and their detailed application covers the marina, boatyard, commercial and administrative units, parking, and a waterfront hotel. However, at this point, they’re only asking for outline planning for most of the residential development because Premier is conscious that getting that part of the development right is crucial and it wants time to finesse its plans.

The detailed plans show a new marina layout for around 232 berths plus a dry stack berthing option for 100 or so smaller motor craft.  Premier wanted to build more berths but 232 is what the river will stand for safe navigation.

Ashore there’s provision for 70 summer boat storage spaces, extending to 100 in the winter. For Premier and its onsite tenants keeping the yard busy year round will be a crucial element to the financial sustainability of the marina.  21 commercial units will be built – and there’ll be a new home for South Devon College, a well-respected provider of education and training to the marina industry, amongst others. There will be a new 75 tonne boat hoist and a new dock facility for lifting/launching boats. The hoist will be largest on the river and will be ideal for servicing private, fishing and commercial craft across South Devon.

A hotel with 50 rooms, two restaurants and a spa is also an important part of Premier’s plan and essential to making Noss on Dart a sustainable place. The hotel, which will be open to the public, will bring Noss on Dart to life, and importantly, bring employment. Premier’s plan also includes a passenger ferry link to Dartmouth.

Mindful of the heritage of the site, there will be a reinterpretation of the iconic Phillips building and above a bistro café, a Heritage Centre will retell the site’s history. Similarly, Premier has consulted with the relatives of those who died during the bombing of the shipyard in WWII to find out how best to incorporate the memorial into the site design.

The work on the marina, hotel, boatyard etc. will start first and is expected to take 3 years with residential following. Premier’s ownership allows development in this order as the investment required for the new marina doesn’t depend on the sale of residential property. This means that the employment and economic benefits flow into the community quicker.

The residential development is critical to the viability of the proposed development and will help to fund the substantial infrastructure investment required including a new quay wall, public slipway, new hoist bay, bridge improvements, and delivering utilities to the site.  Work on the bridge starts shortly with a new pedestrian bridge; the main bridge work is timed for the end of the year.

CEO Pete Bradshaw comments: "Once up and running we expect that onsite employment will be between 150-200 jobs and there’ll be an ongoing and significant economic benefit from the new homes, bonus, council tax and business rates which the development will create. This is in addition to the economic multiplier effect that the £75minvestment in the development of the site will bring.

"We want to build something very special here, to create a sustainable place around the best marina in the UK. After all, the majority of the site will remain in our hands for a long time to come, so it really matters to us."