PLANS for a 500-berth marina on a canal in South Yorkshire are set to win approval from planners tomorrow after changes were made to the scheme to make it more wildlife-friendly.
Developers Waystone Ltd submitted plans to Doncaster Council several months ago for a marina project on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Stainforth, north-east of the town centre.
But those plans were withdrawn after groups including Natural England spoke of their concern over the effect of the massive building project on wildlife on the rural site and in marine habitats. If Doncaster Council's planning committee gives outline approval to the scheme at a meeting at the Mansion House tomorrow, further work will be carried out on the ambitious scheme.
Blueprints submitted to the authority show a marina with four newly-dug basins, which would provide pontoons with room for 500 pleasure boats, as well as a pub and restaurants, a visitor centre and shop units.
Car, coach and cycle parking spaces would be provided on the site north of Measham Drive, with the current plan showing 558 spaces and nine for coaches.
The application also proposes a new access road into the site, served by a new roundabout on Kirton Lane and road improvement works to help to deal with any increase in traffic.
Waystone has also suggested that a nature area and public open space could be provided on land close to the marina, but this would be included in later stages of the work if the first plan is approved.
Hatfield Town Council, which covers the area in which the marina could be built, has lodged an official objection to the scheme with Doncaster Council – mainly over traffic concerns.
Town council members say they are worried the project could result in more vehicle movements, which could add to congestion from another proposed industrial development next to Hatfield Colliery.
A report to be considered by the planning committee tomorrow says Natural England had welcomed revised plans in the venture to increase wildlife habitats to the west of the site and for more canalside habitats to be retained.
But it also says that the organisation raised concerns about any future plans to add housing as a later part of the development.
Developer Waystone told council officers that it was widely accepted that marina developments have a positive effect, boosting regeneration and promoting tourism.
In its submission to the authority, it said: "The delivery and construction of the marina is dependent on a subsequent planning permission being granted for a comprehensive scheme of enabling works.
"This would include a colliery tip washing scheme, colliery spoil importation and engineering to raise ground levels and other important infrastructure enabling works."
"The marina proposal is therefore the first phase of an overall masterplan of proposed development, with a mix of uses, including housing."
In their report, officers said: "The proposal will therefore provide a positive social and economic impact on a deprived area of Yorkshire."
They went on: "It is clear from the comments and support of British Waterways that there is a demand for a new marina. It is likely, therefore, that the marina will help to secure economic development, tourism potential and social improvements."
Doncaster Council's planning committee will meet in public at the Mansion House in the town centre tomorrow from 10am.