HARBOUR bosses are celebrating the completion of the first phase of a £2m redevelopment scheme.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour is undergoing a raft of improvements, including the provision of deeper berths and a larger number of walk-ashore pontoons.

The scheme, which aims to secure the site's future, is being carried out in two phases - with much of the work being done off-season.

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The Beaulieu Estate is working with agencies including Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure the protection of the Beaulieu River’s unique habitats and species.

Russell Bowman, managing director of Beaulieu Enterprises, said new facilities included enhanced electrical services.

Referring to the completion of the first phase of the scheme he said: "We are pleased to mark this milestone in the redevelopment, allowing us to offer our customers greater choice and accessibility while keeping a similar look and feel to the existing yacht harbour.”

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Harbour Master Wendy Stowe added: "The Beaulieu River is a natural haven and a perfect place to ‘get away from it all’.

"We’ve introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of both our permanent boat owners and visitors, and our team continue to extend a warm welcome while keeping a safe distance.”

The site is limiting the number of visiting vessels per night and extra safety precautions have been put in place, including enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.

The second phase of the redevelopment will begin this autumn, with work due to finish next March.

Lord Montagu, chairman of Beaulieu Enterprises, said: "While the aim is to keep the look and feel of the place the same, the end result will be an extra 66 berths and moorings for larger vessels.

"The work is subject to careful environmental planning and conditions issued by Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure the continued protection of the river habitat."

In 2019 the site won the Yacht Harbour Association’s Coastal Marina of the Year award in the category reserved for sites with less than 250 berths.

Some of the ships which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar were built at Buckler's Hard.