A MARINA which wanted to increase the size of a floating club on one of its barges has been told to dismantle it.

The Club Nautico barge at Bridgemarsh Marina in Althorne has been moored on the site for nearly 20 years.

It has served as a clubhouse for marina staff and visitors for the majority of that time, but now has been told it can no longer operate and must obtain the same planning permission as a static building.

The marina were planning for an extension to the club which would’ve seen it gain a second tier building.

However, due to its connections to the land, senior planner Spyros Mouratidis and Maldon District Council both agreed that alterations and extensions would require planning permission.

The inspectorate and district council also stated the pallet of materials for and design of the barge extension was incongruous and too conspicuous to be used.

Objections had been made by residents living adjacent to the river, who expressed fears that the increased space at the club would cause further noise disturbances.

However, Mr Mouratidis ruled that the propositions for the club would not pose an unacceptable threat to their privacy.

Burnham Harbour Mistress Susan Harrison was surprised by the decision, but has conceded that land based planning exceeded her powers on the river.

John Wilson, owner of Bridgemarsh Marina, said: “Upon hearing the result, I first thought of emigrating abroad, however, upon consideration, I will make a planning application based on the guidance provided by the inspectorate which will involve taking down the bridge, which is acting as the new marina office, and furthering a wild life impact survey of winter migratory birds on Bridgemarsh Island.”

The floating club is set to remain open until the end of July, with guests having to be signed in by a member, until it must close.

Mr Wilson said he was actively looking into planning application options and hoped that a new understanding between the marina and planning officer could be reached to allow the club to remain open.