Innovative new ‘boat’ holiday accommodation secured at Thornham Marina

Published on: 07 March 2024

Thornham marina

Thornham Marina has recently designed and built two very innovative ‘arcs’ for use as short-term holiday accommodation. The arcs allow guests to experience Chichester Harbour in style. Each of the arcs offer overnight accommodation, a toilet, kitchen and an outdoor seating area. The arcs are moved by outboard engines and a simple steering system. Whilst they may not look like a traditional boat, they are designed to allow those who are less ‘boaty’ to experience all the joys of being out on the water.


All was going swimmingly and the arcs were proving to be a successful business venture for the marina, until Chichester District Council decided that the arcs were in fact dwellings and not boats, and sought to take enforcement action against them. The marina approached Southern Planning Practice to assist in appealing the enforcement action by Chichester District Council over the ‘construction of two floating pod-style dwelling houses’.


It was successfully demonstrated through the appeal statement and at site visit that the arcs were indeed boats and not dwellings. This allowed the Inspector to confirm that the arcs were designed to be boats, built as boats and certified as……you got it, boats! This substantial evidence including the demonstration of how the arcs were moored, how they moved and how the water/waste was filled up and disposed of did not bring them within the definition of building operations as defined by the section 336 (1) of Town and Country Planning Act. But it is not always quite so clear cut. Detailed analysis of the three primary factors weighed in favour of these unique vessels being boats, ‘not buildings’, on this occasion. This decision demonstrates the need for clarity and robust evidence to support your case and grounds in enforcement appeals. If you’d like to stay in one of these fabulous arcs, you can find them at Thornham Marina.


Southern Planning Practice has been involved with many marine projects over the last 30 years. We enjoy working within the sector and are committed to continuing to assist our valued clients to secure beneficial outcomes.


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