Row over use of staithe in Thorpe’s River Green

A row has erupted over access to a staithe in Thorpe St Andrew.

A row has erupted over access to a staithe in Thorpe St Andrew.

Families living on Thorpe Island say the need to use the River Green Staithe for large deliveries and they want it to be available for access in case of an emergency.

However Thorpe St Andrew Town Council, which controls access through padlocked gate to the boat loading area, argues that it has spent a considerable sum on improving the area, and it is not suitable for vehicle access.

The owner of Thorpe Island, Roger Wood, does not have access to a key despite having a working boat yard with regular need to use the staithe.

Jason Hales, chairman of the Thorpe Island Residents' Association, said: 'Access for business use aside, there is a far more important issue, that of 24-hour access for emergency services and their vehicles.

'Regardless of the town council's perception about our legal status of living aboard our boats, there is a legally recognised dwelling here on the island, home to a family.'

Most Read

Mr Hales said the islanders contribute to keeping the green an attractive location, as well as providing a firework display for the turning on of the town's Christmas lights.

The issue came to a head recently, when the island had a large unscheduled delivery. Islanders said they assessed the risk of parking illegally, which would restrict the flow of traffic in Yarmouth Road, and took a difficult decision to remove the gate from its hinges so they could gain access. The gate was replaced intact and without damage, but the action was criticised as irresponsible by the town council, which in the past has arranged for controlled access to the slipway.

A council spokesman said: 'Whilst we have sympathy with the island residents in relation to gaining access to the island and appreciate their participation in the lights switching on, we have however just spent a considerable sum of money on improving the river green and staithe area and it is not suitable for vehicle access for a number of reasons.

'The new Broads Authority plan actually identifies access and parking provision as some of the criteria which need to be considered when granting permission for residential moorings and one would think that this is also a consideration for any person who does reside on a boat.'