Northfleet Harbour could be a fantastic and vibrant destination to visit – the planned mixed use development, being created by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to the east of the Harbour, could offer an attractive marina boulevard, with shops and restaurants overlooking the harbour and the Thames. Within the Northfleet Riverside area, the harbour itself could host a very attractive Thames marina for yachts and motor boats of all sizes, and could also cater for historic sailing ships – becoming a centre for maritime heritage, boat repairs, sports facilities, sail training, boat sales, fishing boats, shrimpers, chandlers, storage, cranage, and much more. The site is close to Ebbsfleet Garden City, with a substantial number of people moving into the area.
The harbour could be home to world class sporting facilities. This could include the provision of youth sailing training to inspire and teach future champions, as well as offering a starting point for races – around the world, around Britain, the Calais Booze Run, kayak and sea canoes, and much much more.
A user friendly marina could be created as part of a package of business and community initiatives. This could be run as a standalone facility, with historic ships and boat repairs and community groups operating as separate ventures. As can be seen from the below picture, with the harbour wall reopened it would be simple to construct pontoons and bring the harbour back to use, catering for a whole range of pleasure craft.
Attractive walks and seating areas
The Harbour and River Ebbsfleet restoration should not just be about boating and community facilities. The projects could create a very attractive destination to simply walk around and visit, offering relaxing afternoons watching the boats go by – perhaps with a nice cup of tea or a pint from new pubs and restaurants created as part of the neighbouring regeneration scheme.
A home for historic ships
The nation has a wealth of historic vessels waiting for restoration or simply looking for a place to berth. At the moment there are very limited places on the Thames where historic ships can do this. The harbour could offer dozens of affordable places for ships to be displayed and repaired, with the opportunity for the public to visit these, and to see others being traditionally repaired.
Public boat launching facilities
Currently, despite the world significance of the Thames, there are no public launching facilities. We intend to address this, with the harbour restoration providing affordable launching facilities, as well as cranage for boat repairs and storage.
Boat repairs and storage
Another vital facility missing on the Thames is the ability to easily take boats out for repairs and storage. With the capability for boats to be taken out of the water a whole new industry of boat repairs, sales and launching can provide much needed jobs for the local community at Northfleet.
With the rich heritage at the harbour, the Trust aims to create an educational Visitor Centre. This would be ideal for schools and tourists alike.
Reopening the River Ebbsfleet
The project supports the reopening of the River Ebbsfleet. The isolation of this river from the River Thames by three major barriers should be addressed, as the River Ebbsfleet could be a vibrant breeding area for migratory fish, as well as be opened up for birds and other wildlife on its route as it transits from salt water to fresh. A separate website exists for this project at www.riverebbsfleet.co.uk.