Planning permission for a new boathouse in Marlow has been granted after 20 years of work.

Marlow and District Schools Boathouse Trust, a joint venture between Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School and Great Marlow School, set up in 2002 to deliver a boathouse both schools could use, has won consent for a sustainable scheme which is on Green Belt land at Lower Marlow Reach.

Maidenhead-based TP Architects appraised six sites before the final choice was made – a site within reach of both schools with good accessibility to the Thames near the Marlow by-pass bridge in Little Marlow Country Park.

TP Architects was able to demonstrate the required ‘very special circumstances’ for Green Belt development and the design was praised by Buckinghamshire Council officers.

The buildings will be clad in stained cedar boarding, chosen to give a rustic, agricultural appearance, suitable for the setting. It will provide a permanent base for more than 1,000 pupils, offering racking for a variety of boats with accommodation on the first floor, in case of flooding.

Facilities will include changing rooms and showers, a training gym, coaches’ office and a balcony with views over the river. The building will incorporate a solar array and high levels of insulation and rainwater will be harvested and used to wash boats.

Ed Drysdale, director for TP Architects, said: “The approval provides an amazing opportunity to enhance the schools’ rowing offering. The sport is very strong and successful in the area and is in great demand at the two schools.

“By granting consent for very special circumstances the council has enabled the trust to create a purpose-built facility where there would have been an otherwise limited opportunity. This will ensure the continued growth of the sport for future generations in the sustainably designed facility.”

Funding will now begin to raise the approximate £2 million cost of the project.

© Thames Tap (powered by

Sign up to receive your free weekly Thames Tap journal here.