River Hamble facing 'considerable pressure' as leisure demand rises
MANAGERS have admitted there is 'considerable pressure' as demand for space in a beloved river, as demand continues to increase.
The River Hamble Harbour board has reported that there is competition for space in its strategic vision and plan, outlining how it will respond to this going forward.
Recreational activities and individuals will need to have their needs balanced with business use and environmental conservation.
According to the report, the board will 'maintain access to the shoreline for non-boat users'.
A spokesman for Boatfolk - the company that manages Deacons Marina - acknowledged how popular the river has become.
He said: 'As a national boating business headquartered out of the Hamble River, the future strategic vision for the area is high on our agenda.
'The Hamble is one of the most sought-after boating destinations in the UK; our own Deacons Marina in the heart of the River Hamble has remained at full capacity for many years and demand continues to grow.
'While congestion of the river as ever remains a point of concern, at boatfolk we regard increased interest in water-based activities as a positive sign that boating remains a much-loved part of the leisure mix in society.
'The emergence of new entry-level watersports applies increased pressure on the limited space available on the Hamble, but with appropriate facilities, education and management we believe that they play an important part in keeping the UK’s affinity to the water alive.'
The demand not only means tough competition for water space, but also for a place to park along the river.
The board has noted 'the importance of adequate facilities for car and trailer parking' it says.
But with no planning power, it instead falls to the local authorities to resolve the matter - of which there are three along the River Hamble.
Eastleigh, Winchester and Fareham councils will all be encouraged to include parking issues on their agendas, the board claims.
General manager for Swanick and Universal Marinas, Graham Bristowe, said: 'As the owner of two of the leading marinas on the River Hamble, we believe that increased use of the river is a good thing that should be embraced; the last few years have highlighted just how important active outdoor pursuits are to people.
'Of course it is incumbent on all users of the river to act responsibly, respect other users and the environment; in our experience, the vast majority of users do so.
'We believe that with careful management and cooperation from all parties, there will be enough space for everyone to enjoy this beautiful natural asset.'