Repairs to be planned for Sutton Harbour footbridge


Engineers appointed by the Environment Agency have determined the cause of the failure of the Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge – enabling the next step of planning a timetable for repairs to get underway.

A detailed inspection of the bridge by the EA found that the bridge turntable failed because grease was not reaching all of the roller surfaces. The bearing and turntable mechanism of the bespoke bridge, fitted more than 20 years ago, will now need to be completely replaced.

In the interim, the footbridge (which enables the permissive path to be used) will remain closed to the public, to enable the Sutton Harbour lock gates to remain fully operational for marine traffic and to manage any flood risk, which is their main function.

To help people cross the harbour to reach the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant from the Barbican Quarter whilst the bridge is closed, the Sutton Harbour Ferry Service introduced to cover the peak summer months is being extended, and will run during September and October.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said: “The results of the inspection and testing by EA engineers are a step forward in identifying the cause of the problem, while ruling out any other potential failings in the bridge and lock gates mechanisms. It means Sutton Harbour Holdings plc can now move forward and discuss with the EA a plan for assessing the specification and timescales for fabricating the replacement parts for the bearing and turntable and carrying out the repairs.

“Because the footbridge is a custom-designed piece of equipment installed as part of the lock gates 20 years ago, any replacement part has to be manufactured especially for it, which means there is no quick-fix solution available.

“We appreciate that the lock bridge closure causes an inconvenience to many visitors and residents in the area, as well as some of our key local businesses, so we are working closely with Silverline Cruises to organise an extension to the summer ferry service, to help people cross from the Fishing Quarter to the Barbican more easily”

The water ferry service was introduced at the start of the summer after Sutton Harbour Holdings plc invested in installing landing stages and infrastructure to support the operation, and SHH plc also subsidised the service during the peak summer months and school holiday period.

Silverline Cruises will now continue to operate the service independently for the remainder of September and, if there is a demand for it, during October.

Sutton Harbour will again subsidise the service during October half term and for the Plymouth Seafood Festival in September.

The ferry operates from 9.30am - 7pm, Monday to Sunday, crossing between Lockyers Quay and West Pier by the Mayflower Steps. There is a small charge of £1 per person each way or £1.50 return, with children under 5 travelling for free, which goes directly to the ferry operators.

Both the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant discount the cost of the ferry tickets from customers’ bills in the restaurant, NMA shop and café.

Alternatively, there is a walking route around the harbour which accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail with a footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).


Sutton Harbour Footbridge

The Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge will remain closed for the coming months following confirmation from engineers appointed by the Environment Agency that the bridge turntable has failed and will need to be replaced.

Sutton Harbour Holdings plc is working closely with Plymouth City Council and key tenant businesses on the waterfront to explore interim measures to help people make their way from the historic Barbican Quarter of Sutton Harbour to the Fishing Quarter whilst essential repairs are carried out.

Engineers from the EA have been on site for the last four weeks to carry out thorough testing of the bridge’s turntable assembly, bearings and foundations to establish the exact cause of the mechanical fault which developed in April.

The bridge was fitted more than 20 years ago as part of Sutton Harbour lock gates, whose main function is to manage any flood risk. It has been necessary to close the footbridge to the public whilst tests are carried out to ensure the ongoing safe operation of the lock gates for all marine traffic, such as fishing boats.

This week, engineers confirmed the bridge turntable assembly has failed and will need to be replaced, along with a series of other necessary repairs which it is hoped will provide greater longevity to the bridge’s operation in the future. Further testing will be carried out this week and next week to ensure all other potential causes for the bridge fault can be ruled out.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said: “We have met with the city council, the Environment Agency and some of our key tenants, including the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish, so everybody could be updated on the latest situation and discussed ways we all may be able to help support any local businesses affected by the bridge closure.

“We are awaiting further testing by EA engineers to rule out any other failings in the bridge mechanisms and will then plan a repair programme to replace the turntable which has failed.

“In the meantime, we are actively exploring a number of potential options to help members of the public travel from the historic Barbican Quarter to the Fishing Quarter on the opposite side of Sutton Harbour, where the NMA and Rockfish are located, whilst the bridge remains out of action over the coming months.”

An alternative walking route around the harbour from the National Marine Aquarium, Rockfish and Harbour Car Park to Sutton Harbour’s historic Barbican Quarter, which includes the Mayflower Steps, is accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail with a footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).


If you are a berth holder at King Point Marina and you would like ideas for some nearby and yet delicious eating-out, then this guide is the one for you. If you have more suggestions, then contact us on social media - we’d be happy to add to the list.

Eating Out

The Duke of Cornwall Hotel

From formal dining in the restaurant to an informal light lunch in the lounge, Tea at the Top in the famous tower overlooking the Marina or an event in the ballroom, there’s nothing but the finest fresh ingredients from the South West used at this historic hotel.

3 minute walk from Marina 

 Rocksalt Cafe and Brasserie


From coffee and cake, simple light lunches or a delicious dinner to suit all occasions, this acclaimed restaurant is such a short distance from King Point Marina that it seems a shame not to use it with considerable frequency!

4 minute walk from the Marina

Salumi Bar and Eatery

The sister restaurant to Rocksalt, this new restaurant is really taking the city of Plymouth by storm. With tapas delights and delicious traditional favourites, this restaurant is sure to please every foodie.

2 minute walk from Marina

The Dock

As this restaurant is right in King Point Marina, we’d be surprised if you hadn’t already sampled everything on the menu! Mouth-watering selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring the widest possible range of dishes all made with local ingredients, supplied by local businesses.

Just a 30 second walk from the pontoon

Royal William Yard


The Grade 1 former Royal Naval victualling buildings are alive with cafes, bars and restaurants varying from national chains to independent businesses. These include Las Iguanas, Le Bistrot Pierre, Le Vignoble, Prezzo, the famous River Cottage, Wagamama and One Residence Royal William Yard.

10 minute walk from the Marina.



Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign of the Royal Life Saving Society UK (the UK’s drowning prevention charity), which aims to cut down the number of drowning incidents in the UK by promoting water safety on mass. It also aims to raise money for the RLSS UK’s drowning prevention projects and to support families who have been affected by drowning or near drowning.