Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Marina won’t become housing

THE co-owner of a marina in Wargrave says the business is here to stay.

THE co-owner of a marina in Wargrave says the business is here to stay.

Paul Bushnell was responding to a report in last week’s Henley Standard that three new homes will be built at Bushnells Marina in Thameside.

In fact, his son David has submitted a planning application for the four-bedroom houses on land next to the marina.

The properties would be built on stilts to protect them from flooding.

Mr Bushnell would demolish two existing homes and a garage and create new access points off Watermans Way. Wargrave Parish Council has objected on the grounds of bulk and mass and that the development would have an overbearing impact.

Mr Bushnell snr, 69, said it was important for locals to realise the houses wouldn’t be at the marina but next to it.

He said, “I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea because I am getting older.

“I have had three customers who thought that we were packing it all in. My grandfather bought the site in 1917 and we are not looking to sell our business. We are a boating family and David is very much involved - we own it between us.

“The large piece of land next door is where he is looking to build three new houses that won’t flood.”

Three residents of Watermans Way have objected to the application, which is being considered by Wokingham Borough Council.

Mr Bushnell snr recalled that 25 years ago residents objected when he submitted a plan to develop the marina site and it was still approved.

Once he was also contacted by a developer wanting to build homes at the marina, which he turned down. “I wrote back to say that they didn’t understand the concept of a family business,“ said Mr Bushnell. “If every family chucked in the towel there would be no family businesses.

“We have gone from strength to strength. We have ploughed a lot of money into it and bought new modern equipment and it is all here for everybody to see.”

The boatyard was bought by John Henry Bushnell from Henry Butcher on December 31, 1917.

He was in partnership with his father and two brothers at Richmond, where they rented punts, skiffs, dinghies and other boats from their business in the arches downstream from Richmond Bridge. He moved to Wargrave in after buying the boat business.

He had two sons, Leonard and Bert, who joined him in the family business following completion of their apprenticeships.

Leonard and his two sons, Nicholas and Paul, continued Wargrave boatyard. Leonard died in 1974 and Nicholas retired from the business in 1986. David Bushnell has now joined the company and is currently running the repair and maintenance operation known as Bushnell Marine Services.

The Bushnell family has had a royal warrant since before the First World War.

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