EXPANSION plans could see Jones Boatyard in St Ives double in size, create jobs and give the region a tourism boost. The marina has submitted plans to Huntingdonshire District Council that would allow a 1.75 hectare basin to be excavated south of the existing site on Low Road. The expanded boatyard woul

EXPANSION plans could see Jones Boatyard in St Ives double in size, create jobs and give the region a tourism boost.

The marina has submitted plans to Huntingdonshire District Council that would allow a 1.75 hectare basin to be excavated south of the existing site on Low Road.

The expanded boatyard would has space for an additional 104 boats, a new café and create 10 new jobs, with the aim of opening the river up to new users as well as improving facilities for boaters.

The development could be worth up to £840,000 a year to Huntingdonshire economy, and could support up to 100 jobs in and around St Ives, according to research carried out by the British Marine Federation.

Director Sam Jones said the plans had been in development for several years and were an important step in the growth of the boatyard.

He said: "The marina has been at running at capacity for about 10 years, so it was always a long-term aim to expand. This section of the river has suffered from an under-provision of moorings, but the expansion will give better access for all users of the river."

The new marina would be on fields owned by the Jones family since 1983, which have long been earmarked for the expansion. According to the plans, 110,000 tonnes of sand and gravel will be removed over a period of 12 months to create a 4.5-metre deep basin.

Mr Jones said that the sale of the gravel would pay in part for the excavation, and that three recycled plastic pontoons would be built one at a time as the moorings were filled.

He added that St Ives was in a strong position to benefit from plans in place to connect the River Great Ouse to the rest of the country via the Bedford-Milton Keynes link, and form a route through Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely through the Fen Waterways project.

As well as opening up the river to new users with the café, picnic area and small craft launch point, existing facilities would be improved with the building of a new shower and washroom block.

Ninety-six premium floating moorings with water and power will be provided, and eight visitors' moorings.

Mr Jones added: "We are probably the oldest marina on the river, so some of our facilities need updating as well. We've tried to make it as organic as possible, with soft edges, reed beds, duck nesting islands and shallow areas that will allow spawning for fish and amphibians.