Locks, Road Access and Landfalls
The lagoon enclosure will have two locks, one near Minehead and one near Watchet to provide access for recreational and local commercial craft. The one near Minehead will be larger to allow construction and maintenance craft, including a dredger, and also the Waverley paddle streamer to be able to enter the lagoon. The lock near Watchet will be sized to accommodate sailing boats and other craft that operate from the harbour at Watchet.
For safety reasons, a marine exclusion zone would be established around turbine and sluice locations during operation, as employed at the La Rance scheme.
An elevated roadway will be provided along the full perimeter of the lagoon to provide construction and operational access to the powerhouses and sluices. The cable tunnels will be beneath the road. The roadway will also provide access to the locks, marina and leisure facilities.
The proposed East landfall is near St Audrie’s Bay, about 3km to the East of Watchet. At this landfall there will be:
- The construction and operation base including offices, staff facilities, workshops, materials storage areas, parking for cars, buses and delivery vehicles.
- The permanent electrical sub-station.
- Should it be decided to provide continuous power using batteries, these would be housed at this landfall.
These facilities should be screened largely by the existing tall trees, which can be supplemented with additional planting if needed.
The proposed West landfall is on West side of Minehead. At this landfall there will be:
- A construction and operational base for a marina and boat haul out facilities, which could be located on a widened section of the lagoon wall.
- Pedestrian and road access to the lock.
- Retail and tourist facilities, which also could be located on a widened section of the lagoon wall.
Road access to each landfall will need to be constructed. This will need detailed discussion with landowners, residents groups, local councils and highway authorities. In addition, upgrading of parts of the A39 road which carries heavy traffic in the summer, will be considered.
West Somerset Railway
This is a full gauge heritage railway that runs near the shore of the lagoon.
It is envisaged that this railway could be used to bring in some of the construction materials. It was used to bring in materials for the Minehead Sea Wall rebuilding about 20 years ago.
There is a terminus at Minehead with good facilities about 1km from the West landfall point and there is the Doniford Halt about 1½ km from the Eastern landfall site. However it should be noted that the majority of the lagoon wall will be constructed from caissons delivered to the site by towing from port-based construction facilities elsewhere.