Warning over boat moorings in Beccles
Victoria NichollsPlans to switch more than a dozen moorings for holidaymakers on the Broads in Beccles over to private use would damage tourism in the town, councillors have warned.Victoria Nicholls
Plans to switch more than a dozen moorings for holidaymakers on the Broads in Beccles over to private use would damage tourism in the town, councillors have warned.
Waveney District Council has submitted an application for the change in use of 15 moorings at Beccles Quay just off the River Waveney, so that they can be leased privately on an annual basis.
Beccles, one of the most important "gateway" towns into the southern Broads area, hosts 81 casual visitor moorings and 28 permanent private moorings at the quay. The quay is run by the district council, which charges for the use of the moorings.
The town council's planning committee voted unanimously to recommend refusal on the grounds that losing 15 moorings to private ownership would harm tourism.
Information in support of the application shows that usage levels of the casual moorings have been low in recent years, with only 22 days out of 642 achieving at least 50pc occupancy.
However, Waveney concedes that the figures only cover April 2006 to October 2008 and do not include 2009, which has been better than average in terms of boat numbers throughout the Broads, although its application states that the quay never reached capacity during that season.
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The Waterways Directorate has also raised an objection, stating the loss of the moorings will put pressure on the Broads Authority's 24-hour moorings elsewhere in Beccles, which, it says, are already well-used. It suggests that the failure to achieve capacity at the quay has less to do with demand and can be partly attributed to the poor condition of the moorings due to historic under-investment.
Waveney's application to the Broads Authority also seeks permission retrospectively for the installation of the mooring posts, the result of work that was carried out before the council realised it needed planning consent.
The planning committee of the Broads Authority is expected to make a decision on Friday.