New marina application process

Off-line mooring and marina developments on our waterways require our agreement to connect and gain access to our waterway network, which is why we ask developers to complete an application process.

Before granting agreement, we need to be sure that there is sufficient water and capacity to accommodate a new development, and that the technical specifications are adequate to protect the integrity of the waterway and the safety of our customers.

In order to get our agreement, you must do the following things.

  • Design and construct your scheme to meet our requirements, which are specified on the your scheme page and in our responses to the various stages of this application process.
  • Complete our application process, making submissions (see the four stages below) and paying the necessary feesPlease be advised that we will be unable to progress your application until we are in receipt of a full submission and appropriate fee. We will appraise your submissions and confirm whether we have the capacity to accommodate your scheme on our network and whether it meets our safety requirements. There are target timescales for progress through the application system. If you miss these, you risk forfeiting your priority where capacity is limited.
  • Complete the network access agreement with us and any other necessary agreement(s) before you construct the connection to our waterway. In addition to all the impact assessments that are explained elsewhere in this guide, before we grant the network access agreement we will require you to provide us with evidence that you are able to meet the financial commitments required. If necessary we will require assurances in the form of parent company or personal guarantees, a fee deposit in the form of a bond to be held by us against any default, or other types of security which are normal in transactions of this importance. More information can be found on our legal agreements page.

Our application process is designed to help us fairly manage potentially competing demands on water resources and other facilities from multiple developments. It also aims to minimise the information you need to submit to us (and your costs of producing it) in the early stages, in case the scheme does not or cannot proceed.

The four stages

There are four stages of the application process, which you can click on below if you want to jump straight to that information.

  1. Expression of interest
  2. Feasibility submission
  3. Detailed design and construction submission for works NOT affecting us (DCNA)
  4. Detailed design and construction submission for works AFFECTING us (DCA)

We also monitor and inspect the construction, and conduct a water-tightness test, before we allow the final connection and access to our network. 

Expression of interest

What you need to do

If you have identified a potential site and would like our initial assessment before you undertake any investigations, you're ready to start the application process.

  1. Read our page on new marinas - getting started. This includes basic guidance to help you choose a potentially suitable site and research the market for moorings to help you assess the potential demand for your proposal.
  2. Complete our expression of interest proforma and email or post it to us, along with the relevant application fee and a map/plan to show the location and area of the proposed site, including its grid reference.

What we will do

We will log your application and begin to monitor its progress through our system.

We will conduct an initial assessment to determine whether our network has the capacity to accommodate your potential scheme at this location. We will also carry out a simple assessment of the potential impact of the proposal on the local waterway.

Within six weeks of receiving your expression of interest we will tell you in writing whether:

(a) you should proceed with the application process and send us a feasibility submission (with a target date of four months from the date of our response), or

(b) your scheme is not acceptable, giving our reasons, or

(c) that the initial screening report indicates that there are sensitivities with the supply available for the boat movement that your proposal is likely to generate, and that an additional water resource study is required before you submit your feasibility submission.

If a water resource study is required

What you need to do

Complete a water resource study proforma and send it to us, with the appropriate fee, within one month of receiving our response to your expression of interest.

What we will do

We will determine whether water is available to accommodate the increase in boating traffic generated by your scheme. We will tell you in writing whether:

(a) we can accommodate your scheme, or

(b) we can accommodate your scheme but there may be sensitivities which could have design or operational constraints for you, or

(c) there is currently insufficient water for the scheme to be accommodated at the requested location without significant capital improvement works being undertaken.

We will endeavour to complete our water resource study and report in writing to you within three months of receiving your submission. However in certain situations if exceptional water sensitivities exist, it may be necessary to undertake further detailed modelling and option analysis to see whether we can accommodate your proposal. Due to the extensive work and appraisal involved this may take us up to 12 months. Should this situation arise, we will write and advise you.

If the outcome is (a) or (b), you should then make a feasibility submission to us.

Feasibility submission

What you need to do

You can make a feasibility submission to us if you have received our approval to your expression of interest. 

  1. Read the feasibility section in this guide. This includes information on the main issues you need to assess, and recommended research and enquiries to make to determine the basic feasibility of your proposal.
  2. Complete and send us a feasibility submission proforma with the supporting information we request, such as basic plans, a description of the scheme and answers to our questions. You can email or post us this form along with the appropriate fee. If we do not receive your feasibility submission by the advised target date, you may forfeit your priority.

What we will do

We will consider your submission under two headings.

  • Factors that could potentially rule out the development owing to potential impact on the operation of the waterway.
    These are issues relating to the proposed engineering of the development. For example, the proposed manner of connection to the waterway and its impact on navigational safety.
  • Advisory considerations
    We may also comment on other aspects of the scheme. For example, its impact on the waterway landscape or character, or on its environmental sustainability. These are primarily issues for the Local Planning Authority, but we are a statutory consultee, so we will share our comments on these points with the LPA as part of the planning process.

Within six weeks of receiving your submission we will tell you whether:

(a) we believe that we will be able to accommodate your scheme as described in your submission, or

(b) we believe that we will be able to accommodate it subject to your satisfying us on specific concerns that our report will explain, or

(c ) the scheme is not acceptable, giving our reasons.

If our response is (a) or (b) we will confirm your target date for sending us a detailed design and construction submission for works NOT affecting us (DCNA). This will normally be 12 months from the date of our response. 

Detailed design and construction submission for works NOT affecting us (DCNA)

Definition

Works not affecting us are works on private property and without the potential to affect our navigation or normal operational activities during construction, and where no support is offered and no loads are imposed on our property during construction. This would typically be any works at least 6m away from the towpath edge (towpath side marina) or 6m away from water's edge (offside marina). This distance should be agreed with our technical managers and may be increased in certain circumstances (e.g. on an embankment).

What you need to do

We strongly advise you to liaise with us as you develop your submission so that we can assess solutions and resolve queries.

Before you start the preparation of your submission you should carry out the following tasks.

  • Refer to our report on your feasibility submission.
  • Refer to the design section and construction section of this guide.
  • Complete a DCNA submission proforma with the supporting information we request, such as basic plans, a description of the scheme and answers to a range of questions.
  • Email or post us your proforma with the relevant appraisal and inspection fee. If we do not receive your submission by the advised target date, you may forfeit your priority.

What we will do

When we receive your submission and appraisal and inspection fee, we will carry out a full appraisal and report in writing to you within six weeks.

We will tell you that either:

(a) further work/information is required, or

(b) you have satisfied our requirements.

We will also contact you to progress the network access agreement and any other agreements required.

Once construction commences you must notify us of any significant changes to your methods of working or programme of works. The programme should identify any key activities so that our team have adequate notice to visit your site and satisfy themselves as to the integrity of the works.

Important note: If your plans change and you do need to carry out works that affect us, you must submit a DCA proforma at least 12 weeks prior to your proposed start date.

Detailed design and construction submission for works AFFECTING us (DCA)

Definition

Works affecting us are works on our property. For example, the land (including land covered with water), waterways, property, sub-soil and air space owned and/or managed from time to time by us, or where works have the potential to affect our navigation or normal operational activities, or where support is offered and loads are to be imposed on the property.

What you need to do

We strongly advise you to liaise with us as you develop your submission so that we can assess solutions and resolve queries.

Before you start the preparation of your submission you should carry out the following tasks.

  • Refer to our report on your feasibility submission.
  • Refer to the design section and construction section of this guide.
  • Complete a DCA submission proforma with the supporting information we request. If we do not receive your submission at least 12 weeks before the intended start date for any works affecting us, this may have an impact on your proposed programme of works.

What we will do

When we receive your submission we will carry out a full appraisal and report in writing to you within 12 weeks.

We will tell you that either:

(a) further work/information is required, or

(b) you have satisfied our requirements.

Important note: The network access agreement (NAA) has to be completed before you begin any works affecting us. The NAA will include an agreed commencement date, which will be the target opening date for the marina. There will be financial incentives within the agreement aimed at ensuring this target date is not exceeded.

Once construction commences you must notify us of any significant changes to your methods of working or programme of works. The programme should identify any key activities so that our team have adequate notice to visit your site and satisfy themselves as to the integrity of the works.

The actual opening of the navigable access between your site and our waterway will only be allowed when the stilling test (test of water-tightness) has been completed to our satisfaction.

Last date edited: 3 December 2020