I have read with interest the letter from Andy Newell in your December 4 issue, particularly with reference to the difference of opinion between the Pier Trust and those involved with the proposed marina project. I am a marine civil engineer and very much enjoy sailing, I would therefore love to see a workable marina on this coastline. To be workable it has to first be designed to suit the local environmental condil ions to provide a safe haven for the mooring of sea-go ig craft. It has to have good road access, with hard-standing areas for car-parking and for winter storage and/or cyclical maintenance of such craft, including hoisting facliftios for lifting vessels in and out of tiw water. Prom the pier marina design, as shown within your newspaper, it would fail the above criteria.
Also the design shows the entrance is facing north-north-east, it the entrance faces the direction of the worst weather that can be expected during high winds from the North Sea. The swell created by the waves coming through the entrance would in turn create heavy surges of water within the marina, which would place excessive movement and structural stress on the pontoons and mooring lines attached to vessels berthed in the marina. In such conditions, it would clearly not be safe, I have to call into question the comments in your paper made by Andy Newell as to the Neptune’s Arm. He states that their design will have a higher wall and he goes on to say that the conditions you get from a northerly storm about three-quarters of a mile out at sea are the same as the Neptune’s Arm. I have to strongly disagree on this point. The force of the water is governed by the volume (mass water weight) of moving water. The Neptune’s Arm dries out at low water and at high water there is, on average, three metres’ depth, whereas at the site of the proposed manna, which does not dry out, there is 2.5 metres to three metres at low water and, at high water, there is six to seven metres’ depth of water.
The conditions created by a storm are, ofcourse, much more severe as the sheer volume of moving water (mass water weight) would carry up to 3.5 times more force than that expected by the Neptune’s Arm. Hence my comment above as to this proposed marina suffering from various strengths of surges as these conditions can occur at any time of the day. Water on the move is nature’s strongest force and causes far more damage than any other natural element.
It should be remembered that the Neptune’s Arm was not designed as a marina but as a breakwater to protect the low-lying areas of Herne Bay. The primary function and design of this arm is to break the force of the waves before it hits the town’s sea walls along the promenade. As for the development of a new pier, many coastal towns are receiving government and lottery grants to repair and rebuild their piers. I would love to see the second-longest pier before the 70s storm took it down replaced. I believe in Herne Bay and I believe we should continue to push hard for a new pier. It would be a national attraction and a benefit to tourism for our town, which can boast the oldest purposebuilt clock tower in the world!
And yes, Andy, maybe a marina, but one that is sied mthe right place to make it workable, safe and successful.
Alma Road, Heme Bay
Herne Bay Gazette, December 11th 2014