Questions are being asked as to why it has taken authorities nine months to fix a leaking pipe spewing sewage into a riverside beauty spot. 

River users in Thorpe St Andrew raised fears over environmental hygiene in February. 

The spot at River Green is popular with people getting in and out of the water - including paddleboarders, canoeists and kayakers. 

Broadland District Council said in August that it had appointed a contractor to repair a faulty pipe as soon as possible.

Yet three months later, the council lodged a planning application with the Broads Authority in a fresh bid to resolve the sewage spew. 

The plan proposes a replacement sewage pipe from the premises known as The Bungalow on the island to the mains sewer at the public toilets in Yarmouth Road.

Amid increasing concerns for waterway cleanliness courtesy of nutrient neutrality, the delay has baffled stakeholders. 

Thorpe St Andrew boat user Malcolm Martins wrote to the Broads Authority in response to the application.

Norwich Evening News: Thorpe St Andrew boat user Malcolm Martins Thorpe St Andrew boat user Malcolm Martins

He said: "There has been sewage going into the river for years but this planning application seems very vague in details in terms of the size and capacity of the pipe." 

Thorpe St Andrew Conservative county councillor Ian Mackie added: "We understood in August that a contractor was being put in place but now there is a planning application some three months later.

"This delay does raise serious questions.

"The application is welcomed overall as this must be resolved as soon as possible.

"That's the priority." 

Norwich Evening News: Councillor Ian Mackie at River Green Councillor Ian Mackie at River Green

The Broads Authority's planning application states the pipe would be connected to an existing sewage chamber.

Once the pipe is installed on the river bed by a diving team, it would be covered with concrete bags which would be pinned to the river bed to protect the pipe from damage from passing boats.

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Change for Climate Change Research, which has a base at the University of East Anglia, said the pollution in Thorpe St Andrew raises wider concern over the state of rivers in the city.

Norwich Evening News: Climate change expert Asher Minns Climate change expert Asher Minns

He explained: "In terms of climate change we get hotter, drier summers and wetter winters.

"When it rains, it rains intensely and that means if pipes and water infrastructure are currently not up to scratch then all the pollution gets overrun and dumped into the river.

"The River Yare at River Green is a highly used section of the river and all rivers should be cleared whether people use them or not."

A multi-agency panel including Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, Norfolk Constabulary, the Environment Agency, Thorpe St Andrew Town Council, Broadland District Council and the Broads Authority have been looking into the sewage issues.

Ms Smith said: "Sewage entering our rivers has rightly been at the top of the news agenda in recent years, and I have been working hard on behalf of my constituents to drive forward the work required to resolve this issue in Thorpe St Andrew.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich North MP Chloe SmithNorwich North MP Chloe Smith (Image: PA)

"Untreated sewage entering the watercourse is not only potentially hazardous for those who use the water for recreation but can also be damaging to the local wildlife and eco-system.

"I will keep up the pressure on this issue until it is resolved."

The application for a new pipe is currently in the consultation stage. 

It expires on Friday, December 30.

The Broads Authority confirmed it had received the planning application, adding: "Once this process has been completed the Authority will determine the application and a decision notice will be published.”

Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Conservative deputy leader of Broadland District Council, said: "This work is being undertaken as a result of non-compliance with an enforcement notice and the full cost will be charged to the landowner who has failed to resolve this issue despite our offers of both support and advice."

Norwich Evening News: Broadland District Council deputy leader Trudy Mancini-Boyle Broadland District Council deputy leader Trudy Mancini-Boyle

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: "We are continuing to work with the town and district councils and the Broads Authority to resolve the issue.

"We urge people to report suspected pollution to our 24-hour incident line on 0800 807060.”