December 18 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 23, 2013
The historic passenger ferry across the River Bure at Horning is to be restored in time for next holiday season.
Ian Chinn, landlord of the village’s Ferry Inn, announced he will be running the ferry – which stopped last year, ending a tradition of half a century – free of charge.
He is buying the converted lifeboat used by the last operators of the service and is planning to replace its diesel engine with an eco-friendly electric one.
Mr Chinn, who has invested a six-figure sum in his pub since buying it in a semi-derelict state two years ago, said: “Since the ferry packed up we have had no end of people coming in and asking us about it, from ramblers to cyclists.”
For people on the Horning bank, the ferry would open up footpaths on the Woodbastwick side; Woodforde’s brewery would be only a mile walk away.
Mr Chinn said the ferry would also be important for businesses in Horning as many people heading to the village from Norwich by car were currently being misdirected by their sat-navs to the Woodbastwick side of the river when they reached Wroxham.
Former district councillor Paul Rice is helping Mr Chinn with an application to the Broads Authority’s (BA) sustainable development fund to pay for the electric engine.
Mr Chinn, who employs 40 people in high season, praised the BA for helping the project by substantially cutting its annual toll for operating a river ferry.
He said: “I am in a position to operate the ferry free of charge because I already employ mooring attendants at the pub who all have the necessary certificate.”
He will be re-spraying the boat and carrying out other restoration work ahead of launching the ferry in time for Easter.