Houseboat plan at Birdham pool ‘would end’ treasured view

ks180371-1 Birdham Pool  phot kate The site (on the left) proposed for the houseboats at Birdham Pool.ks180371-1 SUS-180731-190105008
ks180371-1 Birdham Pool phot kate The site (on the left) proposed for the houseboats at Birdham Pool.ks180371-1 SUS-180731-190105008

A plan for nine houseboats in Birdham Pool has attracted sharp criticism from residents worried it will ‘ruin’ the beauty of the area.

The boats, to be moored south of The Causeway, would be used as holiday lets or holiday homes, with 22 car parking spaces along the road for guests to use.

18/01651/FUL Birdham Pool. Houseboat plan, proposed layout drawing.'Planning document.

18/01651/FUL Birdham Pool. Houseboat plan, proposed layout drawing.'Planning document.

A planning application from Birdham Pool Ltd states the impact of nine boats in an area with 271 berths would be ‘minimal’ but numerous letters of objection claim otherwise.

One letter, from Birdham resident Caroline Hutchinson, said the boats would ‘cut off’ people walking across the causeway from the ‘unique and special experience’ of looking out over the Millpond.

She wrote: “This application is a crude attempt to squeeze even more revenue out of a very special location and if it went ahead it would bring an end to such a picturesque and unique marina.

“Castle Marinas should maybe consider why over 250 people want to keep their boats there – it is because of the special setting – and instead look to preserve and enhance this, rather than spoiling the greatest attraction.”

Other objectors included David Finnamore, who raised concerns about the impact on a ‘highly sensitive’ habitat for wildlife.

He added: “As a marina owner myself, I will argue for the need to make improvements to enhance the economic viability of such businesses but this is wrong on many counts.”

Objector Isabel Hood, from Birdham, went as far as calling the proposals ‘environmental and ecological vandalism’ of a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

She wrote: “The Upper Pool does not belong to the marina – it belongs to all of us but most particularly to the wonderfully diverse wildlife which inhabits it and which is so profoundly in need of our support and protection.”

Designs show houseboats would have two decks, each with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and living room area on the lower deck and an upper deck area and sedum roof on the second level.

A raised walkway, moorings and other infrastructure are included in the plans. See application 18/01651/FUL