Potential: MP Kenneth Bascome, pictured at Town Cut yesterday: ‘We need to make modifcations’ he says. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Potential: MP Kenneth Bascome, pictured at Town Cut yesterday: ‘We need to make modifcations’ he says. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

Two former St George’s mayors have backed Marginal Wharf as the ideal venue for the relocation of Hamilton Docks.

MP Kenneth Bascome and shipping boss, Henry Hayward, say Marginal Wharf in St David’s provides the ‘best alternative’ should the container port be moved to make way for a major waterfront development in the capital.

Their endorsement of the east end berth is supported by 2008 Government-commissioned report that put Marginal Wharf at the top of a list of five alternative sites for the docks. And it comes as developers vie for the rights to push ahead with multi-million dollar development plans for Hamilton’s waterfront.


‘East end docks would create jobs’

It may not look much now but Marginal Wharf could have a crucial role to play in the near future.

Two former St George’s mayors believe the St David’s wharf is best equipped to take on the mantle of the island’s container docks if plans to regenerate Hamilton’s waterfront become a reality.

MP Kenneth Bascome and shipping boss, Henry Hayward, say Marginal Wharf ticks a lot of the boxes required of a port.

And it’s a view shared by the writers of a Government-commissioned report that explored other possible venues for the docks. 

Mr Bascome told the Sun that shifting the docks to Marginal Wharf would mean ‘long overdue upgrades’ to the causeway would have to be done to ensure the route remained open whatever the weather.

While Mr Hayward said a container dock in the East End would also provide a welcome employment boost to the area.

Mr Bascome added: “Moving the docks to Marginal Wharf makes sense on a number of different levels. People will talk about the expense in terms of travel distance, but if we are serious about the waterfront development in Hamilton we have to consider a realistic relocation venue for the docks.

“That to me is Marginal Wharf.

“At present Penno’s Wharf is the only dock that accommodates the gravel ship and that works despite the need to transport the material from St George’s to other parts of the island.

“Moving the docks to Marginal would also mean the causeway would have to be upgraded, which is long overdue.”

Mr Hayward, chairman of the Meyer group of companies, added: “Marginal Wharf is by far the best alternative if the docks have to be moved from Hamilton. It’s sheltered from the weather and our current container ships could get alongside now.

“There is an area of high ground around 250ft off Marginal Wharf which would need to be dealt with by some form of dredging.

“But this location affords plenty of space for warehouses and containers, as well as a pre-existing channel. Plus it would create a business hub as well as job opportunities in the East End.”

Businesses in St George’s have been hit hard by the absence of a regular cruise over recent years. 

And this year just a handful of smaller ships have stopped UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mr Bascome told the Sun he was still hopeful the town could attract a smaller cruise ship on a more regular basis.

But he said it was time for the town to grasp the nettle and consider making ‘modifications’ to Town Cut in order to accommodate a cruise liner.

He added: “I’m not talking about desecrating the little islands, but we need to seriously consider making some modifications to Town Cut if the town is to be economically viable

“This work would obviously include dredging, but this would also be needed in front of Marginal Wharf too if it was to be used as the docks to tackle a raised area of seabed close to the wharf.

“There are a number of people who would like this to remain a sleepy town. But if we want to create an economically viable community some decisions will have to be taken with Town Cut in the next few years.

“I for one believe there are cruise ships out there that carry around 2,000 passengers that we can attract and Penno’s Wharf is the prime location for those ships.

“We just need to be able to accommodate them through Town Cut.”

Mr Hayward added: “There is a middle ground with Town Cut. I do not agree with the study that said all three islands would have to be completely removed in order to accommodate a cruise ship.

“I am not averse to some moderate dredging in order to accommodate a 2,000-passenger cruise ship.”