Published: 00:01, 03 January 2018
A group of Islanders are banding together to investigate plans for a new harbour at Sheerness.
The project is the brainchild of Dave Wilcock, the man behind the new Sheppey to Southend ferry service which starts in May.
He has suggested a harbour arm be built near the Ship on Shore pub, similar to one created for Herne Bay.
The work could include a short pier by the yacht club, as at Herne Bay, so pleasure craft could moor.
Additional work in front of Neptune Terrace would complete the "missing link" for cyclists, disabled people and mums with buggies who use the promenade.
Currently, they have to navigate steep steps or use Marine Parade between K’s Casino and the Catholic Church.
This could open up the promenade for a motorised "land train" to run between Tesco in Sheerness and the Beach Hotel at Minster Leas, with stops at the Ship on Shore, Barton's Point Coastal Park, the White House restaurant, Sweet Hut and Playa pub.
Mr Wilcock said: “This is all about creating a much-needed protected Sheppey Harbour with an extension of the promenade around Neptune Terrace to ease disabled access and provide a land train connecting Sheerness Docks to Minster Leas.
“In the process, we hope to create a fabulous, protected sandy beach, boat moorings and a pontoon for passenger boats.”
Paul and Nina Weeks, who run the Sweet Hut, are already studying plans to run a land train to boost tourism.
Paul said: “One of the sticking points has been the strip of land along Neptune Terrace. We don’t want the train to use any public roads.
"This would overcome that problem.”
Southend council has invested in a similar artificial lagoon on its seafront with sand, protected bathing for families, public toilets and a restaurant with sea views.
Canterbury council helped renovate Herne Bay pier, which is now used for a fun fair, concerts and beach huts hired to businesses.
Mr Wilcock is holding an open meeting for anyone interested tomorrow at the Royal Hotel, Broadway, Sheerness, at 7pm.
He already has 240 supporters on his Sheppey Harbour Project Facebook page which he launched at the weekend.
Peel Ports has included a circular marina, a heritage boulevard and additional deep-water berths on 125 hectares of reclaimed land in front of Tesco as part of its 20-year master plan.
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