Campaigners have questioned how Ipswich will benefit from taking dozens of boats away from the Waterfront following miscommunication issues with the new marina owner. 

Following the death of its creator Alan Swann earlier this year, Associated British Ports (ABP) has taken control of Ipswich’s Neptune Marina and plans to move about 100 boats away from the Waterfront.

Campaign group, Save Ipswich Waterfront, has complained about the “seamless transition” promised by ABP in the letter sent to berth holders and said communication with the new marina owner has been problematic. 

ABP said it is engaging with boat owners with the aim of establishing a "collaborative approach" over the matter.

Kevin Bentley, one of the Save Ipswich Waterfront representatives, said:  “Neptune Marina is a very unique part of Ipswich. It's located very close to bars and cafes so the residents can come and admire the view.  

“The numerous boats at the Waterfront are a very good attraction for people in Ipswich.” 

Ipswich Marina is owned and operated by ABP from the other side of the Wet Dock - from land on the port's 'Island Site'.  

The port owner now plans to extend Ipswich Marina by creating more pontoons for vessels and to remove Neptune Marina, which is accessed from in front of Isaacs. 

The changes mean that access to the enlarged marina would be shifted closer to Neptune and Wherry Quays - but the owners of boats berthed in Neptune Marina would no longer have such easy access to pubs and restaurants along the Waterfront. 

ABP promised the berth holders open communication and “seamless transition” over the next steps of the changes. 

However, Mr Bentley said: “Every pledge they've made has completely been withdrawn, not happened, and won't happen.” 

He added: “We feel that ABP is not transparent, which is what they said they would be. They're not thinking of the local area. They're not thinking of berth holders.  

“They're not thinking of the people in the flats or the general public. We've not found anyone yet who thinks it’s a great idea.”  

The Save Ipswich Waterfront representative, who recently published a post on the group's social media explaining the issues the boat owners are facing, added that the boat owners would like to know why removing Neptune Marina is a good thing for Ipswich.  

Mr Bentley added: “How is it going to benefit the town?  

"We've had three or four meetings, and not once have we come up with the answer that this is all going to benefit everyone. “ 

An ABP spokesperson said: "ABP has engaged with a range of local stakeholders, including marina users, about the development of the Port of Ipswich.  

Ipswich Star: Alan Swann helped develop Ipswich WaterfrontAlan Swann helped develop Ipswich Waterfront (Image: Archant)

“This includes a number of face-to-face meetings, with aim of building a collaborative approach towards development.  

“We have tried to conduct this engagement in an atmosphere of trust and have shared more information than we're required to.  

“It's really disappointing that some groups or individuals have chosen to step away from this trust through social media posts and going to the media.  

“ABP is committed to responsibly developing the Port of Ipswich as East Anglia's leading and largest multi-use port, including its marina operations. That includes continuing to work with local stakeholders where we can." 

Save Ipswich Waterfront said in response: "ABP set out their own mission statement clearly stating six points, which was sent out to berth holders, to which they have not stuck to five of them.

"Initially we were encouraged by the decisions we had with ABP but as time went on the meetings became less constructive as we for example challenged their costings for services, initially it was £500k and then dropped to £250k, we asked to see the estimates but they were not forthcoming if only to validate there point to us re viability. 

Ipswich Star: Neptune Marina on Ipswich WaterfrontNeptune Marina on Ipswich Waterfront (Image: Newsquest)

"As berth holders we are concerned that all services have been removed, A senior representative  said that they will not be doing any work on boats and that they will not allow any company to operate out of the Neptune side of the marina, a complete U-turn from what was promised re the 6 point mission statement,
we asked why they won’t allow a company to operate from there and was told 'we want control in the Bay Area'."