Lydney Harbour future secured in fish smokery deal

Lydney Harbour Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The harbour dates back to the early 1800s and was used for industrial purposes until 1977

The future of Lydney Harbour in Gloucestershire has been secured after a deal has been done for it to be operated by a local business.

The Environment Agency (EA), which manages it, has chosen the Severn and Wye fish smokery as its preferred bidder to become its new custodian.

In 2014, the EA said it was looking for an investor to "secure the long-term future of the important historic site".

Lydney Harbour was built in the early 1800s to transport iron and later coal.

Richard Cook, of the smokery, said he would now work with the local community, the council and the EA "to help develop and promote what we believe to be one of the Forest of Dean's hidden gems".

Ian Jones, from the EA, said: "We see transferring the harbour as an essential step in revitalising the area and ensuring that all users retain the ability to use the harbour and its surroundings with enhanced facilities."

The EA said it would continue to manage and operate the harbour while negotiations - expected to "take a while" - were completed.

During its heyday, the harbour saw about 300,000 tons of coal being exported annually in more than 2,000 vessels.

The final export of coal was in 1960 and it finally closed in 1977.

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