A business plan examining the financial feasibility of developing repair and maintenance of traditional vessels in Faversham Creek has concluded that a net present value of £560k could be achieved over 15 years after including all costs.
The project would lead to 10 new full-time jobs and would be be in substantial surplus in its fourth year, says the report, which was written by a group of business-minded individuals follows a request by Faversham Town Council for an assessment of this kind in support of the local neighbourhood plan.
Achieving these benefits would be dependent on public support and funding, including providing a new opening bridge however.
The authors conclude that the Thames from London to its full outer estuary includes some 51 Thames sailing barges, 170 Dutch/motor barges and approximately 533 smacks and other traditional vessels, and that in business terms restoring, refitting and maintaining these vessels amounts to a turnover of £6m a year, with a significant secondary revenue from moorings.
They concluded that Faversham should be able to attract 18 per cent of the available Thames barge work, 10 per cent of Dutch barges and 7 per cent of smacks, which would require three extra dry docks to be available for mainstream repair, and maintenance along the tidal Creek and light maintenance and general moorings elsewhere.
The predicted annual income including from mooring fees is £700k gross, or £200k net of operating costs – which it is thought would lead to 10 additional full time jobs in the town.
Some £1.3m of capital expenditure would be required, including £860k for an opening bridge and sluices £280k for quay structures, £50k for initial dredging and £140k for dry docks and other equipment – and if the Council were to invest in an opening bridge, the report argues it would be feasible to raise the remainder from bank loans and private investment.
Read the report here.