SMALL boats and yachts could be sailing into Barry Dock after the Vale council and Associated British Ports (ABP) commissioned The Marine Group to investigate the possibility of a marina at the site.

The dock area, owned and operated by ABP, currently allows cargo ships in and out of the dock and offers space for business and is already home to Barry Community Water Activity Centre.

The council and ABP have jointly commissioned The Marine Group to carry out a feasibility study which will investigate the technical and commercial viability of smaller boats and yachts accessing and mooring in the dock. It will also look at the economic benefits and challenges a marina would bring.

Vale council cabinet member for education and regeneration, Cllr Lis Burnett said: “This study is a great opportunity for us to look into the detail of creating a marina in Barry which if it were to prove to be achievable, would add to the quality tourist and leisure destination that Barry has become and provide local job opportunities. There are some really exciting regeneration initiatives under way in the Barry area and this study could signal the next major opportunity. We are looking forward to working with Associated British Ports and The Marine Group to explore the project.”

The Marine Group, whose Marina portfolio includes Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Port Dinorwic and Burry Port, have an excellent track record in exploring, delivering and operating high quality marinas in Wales.

Marine Group director, Chris Odling-Smee said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to assist with the feasibility study of a full service marina on Barry Waterfront.

"Our expert consultants from Waterco, Pebble and Kaymac working alongside our own harbour management specialists will provide the best possible options to further the exciting momentum and success of Barry. Barry has the potential to become a strong contributor to the economic development of coastal Wales and a welcome addition to the network of marinas around Wales and beyond.”

ABP regional director, Andrew Harston said: “We are delighted to be working with the Vale of Glamorgan Council on this project, which has the potential to establish Barry as a marina destination by making use of the former working dock. This could enable leisure and marina activities that will help to further stimulate tourism growth. The marina has the potential to complement other existing water-based activities at ABP’s Port of Barry and, if feasible, will further add to the significant investment and economic regeneration that has already proved successful at Barry Waterfront.”

Barry Dock is steeped in history.

The town was once the largest coal exporting port in Britain.

Today, the regeneration of the waterfront has been transformative with a 2,000-home housing development moving towards its final stages.

Construction has also begun on the £9 million Goods Shed development at the Innovation Quarter which will include new restaurants, workspace and housing.

Consultations will take place in the next few months with key stakeholders around the site to help inform the business case, with the study to conclude at the end of the year.