Yachting Monthly: A marshland marina is up for sale at just under £2 million. Bridgemarsh Marina on the rural River Crouch in Essex has nearly 200 berths and the freehold of the river.
Near the village of Althorne, the 17-acre harbour is offered at £1,950,000 with licenced capacity for 195 vessels, enjoys a turnover in excess of £250,000 a year. It has potential for expansion into offering servicing and repairs, plus development of other areas of the land subject to planning permission.
The owner, John Walker, is an extremely fit and active 77-year old who also combines running the marina with being a professional ski instructor in the Austrian Alps for several months each winter: “At my age, it’s all a bit too much,” he says modestly. “I’ve got a couple of boats myself, one at the marina and one in the South of France, so it would be nice to spend time on them.”
John acquired the site in 1976, along with his brother Ray, when it was simply an empty stretch of land by the river. In the intervening years, the pair developed the marina into a thriving, profitable business. Sadly, Ray died in 2010 and this also prompted John to look at pastures new, whilst handing the business on to an experienced operator: “Together, we built the business up from nothing and I would like to see it continue to develop with the new owners,” he says.
“Our annual fees average at around £1,300 per berth (based on a 25ft boat) and the bookings have been robust year after year, even through the downturn, further making Bridgemarsh Marina a secure and healthy investment,” adds Mr Walker.
The presence of a well-stocked carp and eel lake, plus the nearby wildlife reserve of Bridgemarsh Island adds to the appeal of the location: “Last year an industry survey found that homes overlooking a river fetch double the price of an identical house situated inland,” observes Mike Gray. “Sailing towns around the UK are now attracting overseas property investors. Sensitive development of the marina could encourage more trade for local shops, restaurants and businesses in the area.”