Petition supports boat owners in Thorpe Island eviction row

Thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the eviction of boat owners living at Thorpe Island.

Thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the eviction of boat owners living at Thorpe Island.

Archant Norfolk.

Thousands of people have backed a petition opposing eviction notices handed out to boat owners living in Thorpe Island, near Norwich.

In a legal tussle lasting around five years and costing the Broads Authority £90,000 to date, 41 eviction notices have been issued to the residents of Jenner’s Basin.

Boat owners are now fearful their power supply could be cut off, with the prospect of the removal of solar panels providing electricity and clean water.

The Broads Authority, which promised that no action would be taken until this year, said that it has “no option”.

Attracting more than 3,000 signatures over the last two weeks, the petition was set up to put pressure on the Broads Authority and lend support to landowner Roger Wood.

Organiser Gary Barnes, 49, said he feels “very heartened” by the response.

“I think it is a reflection that people perceive something very wrong is happening down at Jenner’s Basin,” he added.

“People feel it is an injustice, and the number of people who have signed is indicative of that.

“The Broads Authority are in a position to enforce at any time, and residents have the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. We just want to hold a hand out to the Broads Authority and say let’s sit round the table to find a solution.”

Mr Wood and the Broads Authority have been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle over planning rights in the area.

While Mr Wood insists planning permission remains from previous owners, the case has been before two planning inspectors, with a High Court judge deeming the development unlawful.

The Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal that decision, but there will be an oral hearing there in February to appeal that latest ruling.

Jacquie Burgess, chairman of the Broads Authority and member of the planning committee, said: “The case around this uncontrolled and illegal development is difficult not only for nearby residents, who have been caused significant stress over a number of years, but also for those living on Thorpe Island who are now unfortunately caught up in the action that we – as a planning authority with a responsibility to look after a protected area for the wider benefit – have had no option but to take.

“We have tried for a long time to conclude this case in a different way and had the landowner accepted the planning inspectorate’s decision last year relating to permission to keep 25 boats on the island neither we, nor those living on the island, would be in such an unwelcome position now.”

What do you think? Write, with full contact details to EDPletters@archant.co.uk

43 comments

  • Hmm! Elvis has left the building! Dispute it or not!

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • iclone-2000 - I assume it would be condescending to draw from that that you are not aware of the meaning of disputed.

    Report this comment

    Vagrant

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Vagrant - Very sorry, but could you state what you think the High Court decision means exactly? I am still not sure what you are trying to say. It seems clear that no planning permission exists for residential mooring in Jenner's Basin. The High Court ruling has been made. Do you not believe the ruling is correct?

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Monday, January 4, 2016

  • iclone-2000 - you are mixing the case facts with the disputed ruling. The planing permission did not state usage, for hire boats or otherwise and include facilities for privately owned boats. It was accepted that the covenant lost the commercial use as a hire base, but did not exclude other uses which had not been restricted elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    Vagrant

    Monday, January 4, 2016

  • Vagrant - thank you for your comment. I am sorry but I don't understand your point. If you are disputing the fact that planning permission was in place for the working boat yard in the basin, could I draw your attention to details in the High Court ruling: http:www.broads-authority.gov.uk__dataassetspdf_file0005604733Thorpe-Island-Report-on-High-Court-Judgement.pdf Please read the ruling. You will see permission was given to '[...] for the construction of a mooring basin, wet and dry boatsheds and other development on Thorpe Island to support a HIRE BOAT facility. [...). Further, the ruling states: [...} The current landowner and his agent were advised that the previous permissions and use had been abandoned and that any resumption of the use would require planning permission. Moreover, they were advised that the current planning policies did not support such a use and that planning permission would, therefore, be unlikely to be granted. [...]. All interested parties would benefit from reading the ruling, and discover a few facts that are being concealed by the petition authors. Jan Parker has summed up the 'Save' campaign quite well, although I don't believe all the moored boat residents actually support the lies and distortion being published in their name! It would be far better to accept the High Court rulings, and enter considered dialogue with the BA and other authorities, in order to find a way to help the residential moorers in a more constructive way.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Sunday, January 3, 2016

  • Those 'thousands' of supporters have been mislead into believing there is planning permission in place for these boats and that the Broads Authority are acting unreasonably. The High Court has decided that there is no planning permission in place. There will be a further, oral, appeal in February, but the fact is, at this moment, the mooring of the boats (residential or not) in the basin is illegal. No eviction notices have been issued. The letters explained the legal position and gave the boat owners the opportunity to avoid the consequences of the injunction that the Authority may now seek. The letters have no enforcement powers behind them. By spinning a web of deceit, the residents of Jenner's Basin have done immeasurable harm to Mr Wood's (the owner's) case.

    Report this comment

    Jan Parker

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

  • iclone-2000, you complain that people have not read the files but vocally spread inexactitudes! The original planning permissions do not state a usage, they also included a covered dock (now demolished) and a clubhouse which was not built. I have never worked at an establishment with a clubhouse, but have been to many residential and social establishments with a clubhouse!

    Report this comment

    Vagrant

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

  • NB: Just re-read some comments: 1. Eviction notices HAVE NOT been issued. But, warnings that they may be have been issued to boat owners. 2. Planning permissions are required before residential moorings can be made, despite any covenant. 3. The unsavoury targeting of local residents for being responsible in some way for ongoing action to resolve the situation is WRONG. Action was already being taken through the courts long before the media article was published. 4. Referring to boats using Jenner's Basin without interruption is wrong. Since the original use as a working boatyard, the basin has been largely unused up until the more recent unregulated use by the landowner. Evidence has been submitted and agreed by the High Court. Don't mistake moorings on the river and cut as being Jenner's Basin when referring to 'the island'.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

  • As some recent commenters do not seem to read previous posts or do any research, could I again remind them that the covenant does not allow residential moorings on Thorpe Island without a planning permission to change from the previous use as a working boat yard. This has not been obtained by the land owner, and no application for one has been submitted. The only physical access which could serve the moorings of residential boats is no longer able to be used because of the residential development around it. The residents there have rights as well, and it has been already agreed as part of the development that the bridge access cannot be used in such a way that it would disturb living residents living there. Much as it is easy to ignore the facts, it doesn't really help the boat owners get the objective support they need.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

  • Am I missing something here - if the BA or council agrees to planning authority for the LANDOWNER - there is then nothing legally to stop him charging the full commercial value for the moorings - and evict those that can't pay as per any other landlord! So please stop the 'charity case' arguments - that would only have merit if the boat owners owned the land - they don't. Could all of those who have an odd plot could encamp some caravans etc., - make mess and then get retrospective planning permission for executive homes or boats. I'm not so naïve.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

  • It is important to think about the wider picture that has lead to this sorry state of affairs. A peculiar form of governance pertains to the Broads Authority unlike other local planning authorities. For starters a different level of democracy applies in the appointment of the 12 planning committee members who are meant to hold the planning officers to account. Secondly, the BA have a very cosy arrangement with the Broads Society, a small but influential interest group that run a parallel planning committee. Thirdly the BA planners only have about half the national benchmark of 150 planning cases per officer per year. Fourthly, the BA has no statutory role in meeting housing requirements. Does that sound like a good way of insuring £90,000+ of taxpayers money is being well spent? Funnily enough one of the principal complainants overlooking Jenner's basin is an influential member of the Broads Society. There are about 25 properties overlooking the site but less than five complainants. It is a well known fact that you can't buy a view, but isn't it strange that over a thousand people a week pay to sit down to meals at the Town House public house overlooking this view that a minority find so intolerable?

    Report this comment

    Broad Minded

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • There have been NO eviction notices issued, just letters warning the illegal residents that further action is likely to be taken and giving them the opportunity to avoid the consequences of an injunction that the Braods Authority MAY apply for. Tom Blake, there is no attempt being made to overturn or remove the covenant, which simply restricts the use to which the basin can be put. It does NOT given permission for any particular use and doesn't mention 'residential mooring' at all. Only a planning consent can give any sort of permission, and the court has ruled that no such consent exists. Peter Waller, don't you mean ALLEGED 'feral' comment. This is a third-hand allegation, which is under investigation, unless, of course, you actually witnessed it yourself.

    Report this comment

    Chris Talbot

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • I agree with iclone-2000. I live in a house in Thorpe St Andrew and own a boat which is legally moored. There are other residents who live unlawfully in boat yards throughout the Broads who are not facing similar action. I feel this is unfair that they are able to get away with it. Perhaps the Broads Authoity should take the same stance everywhere.

    Report this comment

    Groover

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • I agree with iclone-2000. I live in a house in Thorpe St Andrew and own a boat which is legally moored. There are other residents who live unlawfully in boat yards throughout the Broads who are not facing similar action. I feel this is unfair that they are able to get away with it. Perhaps the Broads Authoity should take the same stance everywhere.

    Report this comment

    Groover

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Drain the area!

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • here here!

    Report this comment

    tellitlikeitis

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • So the petition organiser, Gary Barnes wants “.....to hold a hand out to the Broads Authority and say let’s sit round the table to find a solution.” Here are a few more of Mr Barnes’ comments, from his Save-The-Island FaceBook page: “you and I both know that The BA are Nazis in retreat.” “We've got to expect Nazis to have the odd ally.” “I really do think it is no exaggeration to say that it is a form of ethnic cleansing.” “I have said many times before that The Broads Authority are LIARS. Jacquie Burgess is a LIAR. John Packman is a LIAR. CALLY SMITH is a LIAR.” Is this the way to get the Broads Authority to sit down and discuss the situation with him? Probably not. No eviction notices have been served. The letters are simply warning letters, to give the illegal residents a chance to avoid the consequences of the injunction that the Broads Authority has said it MAY seek. Peter Waller, don't you mean the ALLEGED 'feral' comment. This is under investigation and you only 'think' it was witnessed - unless you are the witness, of course. Tom Blake, there has been no effort to remove the covenant, because it doesn't grant any permission, but only restricts what the basin can be used for. Only planning permission can give permission. Oh, there's a clue in the name, isn't there.

    Report this comment

    Chris Talbot

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Iclone-2000 you give the impression you are aware of the facts, but may I suggest you try to be a little bit more objective before throwing your support behind the BA. As hopefully you know, the area was initially developed as moorings for a large hire boat fleet in the 1970s with full planning permission. The business went bust soon after but when part of the site was later redeveloped to create the housing in Thorpe Hall Close, a restricted covenant was put on these moorings that they could no longer be used for anything apart from private use, i.e. no commercial boat operations. This is exactly what Mr Wood is using these moorings for. What you also need to be aware of is the peculiar form of governance that pertains to the Broads Authority unlike other local planning authorities. For starters a different level of democracy applies in the appointment of the 12 planning committee members who are meant to hold the planning officers to account. Secondly, the BA have a very cosy arrangement with the Broads Society, a small but influential interest group that run a parallel planning committee. Thirdly the BA planners only have about half the national benchmark of 150 planning cases per officer per year. Fourthly, the BA has no statutory role in meeting housing requirements. Does that sound like a good way of insuring £90,000+ of taxpayers money is being well spent? Funnily enough one of the principal complainants overlooking Jenner's basin is an influential member of the Broads Society. There are about 25 properties overlooking the site but less than five complainants. As you well know, you can't buy a view, but isn't it strange that over a thousand people a week pay to sit down to meals at the Town House public house overlooking this view that a minority find so intolerable?

    Report this comment

    Broad Minded

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • The answer is simple, and that is for the houseboats to be disguised as cottages, surely not offensive to anyone, not even the property investors who live nearby. Perhaps a rolling 10 year plan whereby older houseboats are replaced with ye olde english cottages, made from a mixture of fibreglass, straw and Norfolk reeds would fit the bill. Not sure if the Broads Authority would go for this though as I can imagine the type of people who get appointed to organisations like this, and living in caravans or council houses is probably not part of their life history.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Linda, The 4 people who are started this have large trees obscuring their view anyway. It is more likely they stand to gain in some way or another, probably financially. The covenant is lawful under common law so cannot be removed by legal means. Nothing about this is illegal except the notices served.

    Report this comment

    Tom Blake

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Great points, Linda Sinclair, your idea equates to money being well spent in a socially responsible manner. This whole sorry saga shows the Authority in a very poor light, especially after the witnessed 'feral' comment.

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Furthermore "Houseboats have been around this stretch of river since at least 1922 and the landowner has both a covenant and planning permission for residential moorings". Wouldn't it be nice if, instead of the Broads Authority trying to evict them they helped them, worked WITH them, they could have spent just a fraction of that £90K in improving the area and everyone would have been happy but I suppose that , as Jacquie Burgess, Chair of the Broads Authority, referred to the families living there as "feral" that isn't going to happen

    Report this comment

    Linda Sinclair

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • There is a demand for residential boating at Norwich, just as there is outside any overpriced city. Jenner's Basin is a blindingly obvious choice. All these folk want is to be left alone to live their lives as they choose, and can afford. Kick them out of Jenner's Basin and where do they go? My experience of of residential boaters is that they provide eyes and ears on the waterway, don't interfere with those of us fortunate enough to live by the water and generally provide an interesting alternative to the acres of bland, white plastic crowded into regimented marinas.

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • why would I be bothered if 50 illegal caravans had taken up residence in land opposite my home? I don't have to look at them all day do I? as long as they are not affecting me in any detrimental way, if they are just families living an alternative lifestyle good luck to them I say, what is the problem, is it just because they don't live in bricks and mortar? is it because they don't conform to one's standards? too many sheep around imho.

    Report this comment

    Linda Sinclair

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • It's high time the whole of Thorpe Island was cleaned up. It looks like a marine scrap yard of derelict boats. Most are well past their sell by dates. Quite a few are from the boats that got kick out from the community if half sunken craft can be called a floating community on riverside Norwich. Seeing this rag tag navy must drive away visitors to the Broads. And it's these visitors who pay the expensive prices to visit The Broads. So wake up both the Broadland district council and the Broads Authority a rid us of this eyesore ASAP.

    Report this comment

    paul527reeves

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • David Cameron expressed the importance of teaching that Britain is a Christian country, well if that is so did god not create the earth ? if so then he owns it, we are the only living creature on earth that is NOT allowed to build a shelter to live in, and the most intelligent? I am 52 and glad that my life is slowly coming to an end and that I am leaving this "world" not entering it,it makes me sick this time of the year with so much greed gluttony and hypocrisy around,people should be allowed to live their lives how they want and be free to not be part of this sick depraved existence called "society" Happy New Year? do me a favour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    tellitlikeitis

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • A comment seems to have gone AWOL, apologies if this repeats it. Please don't start blaming local residents of Thorpe St Andrew for choosing to live on the riverside. Action to rectify the situation started because of breach of planning rules in a conservation area. An article which came later reporting that residents and local MP being disappointed with the situation and no progress was not the start of the story. Targeting innocent people because a floored social media campaign indicates it is OK does not help anyone.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Take off your rose-tinted spectacles and imagine how you'd react if 50 caravans had illegally taken up residence opposite your home. If you're all suggesting that it's ok just because it's boats then that's a shocking double standard.

    Report this comment

    John S

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • It is nothing to do with residents choosing to move to riverside properties. This particular planning breach is being addressed because it is still growing with no sign of compliance by the land-owner. A media article featuring unhappy local residents and MP came later, when progress with the land-owner stalled. Unfortunately it has been used to blame the residents for the court actions. The result is some comments blindly targeting local residents. Boats on the river in Thorpe St Andrew are an established and welcome part of the character of the area, but unregulated development of a conservation area isn't. Who wants out of control development on THEIR doorstep? Let's get really real and call for help for the boat owners which doesn't support breaking the law, or casting blame at all and sundry.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • "nearby residents, who have been caused significant stress over a number of years" significant stress? why, because the view isn't as they expected? because the boats on the river aren't nice posh cruisers? I doubt they can even see the boats from their garden but if they can and the view is not up to their standard perhaps they could plant a tree or two to obscure it?

    Report this comment

    Linda Sinclair

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Derek, you didn't answer the question?

    Report this comment

    RV2008

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • What do you expect to find if you live next to the river on the Broads? Baots have been using the Island since before 1922. How long have you lived where you do? Did you move into you river view property BEFORE then? If not, then why did you move in if you do not like the river, the Broads and boats. I guess you are the type of person who does your thing and expect other people to change their way od life just because you DO NOT like it. Get real!

    Report this comment

    paul sergent

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Fascinating that comments still ignore the actual facts about this issue. Planning permission has never been attained for residential mooring, so from the beginning it was illegal. Should a blind eye be turned? Numerous offers to the owner of the island, all of which he has not accepted. Instead appeals have been made every step of the way costing all concerned a lot of money. Action has not been taken to remove the boats but notice has been given it may be taken. This is totally due to the land-owner refusing to comply to anything he has been asked to do in order to rectify the situation. The moorings at the basin should never have been developed. It is a conservation area which is being abused, and illegal development is simply not allowed. Unfortunately because of stalling by the land-owner using appeals, the community has grown quite large now. Surely the best route is to assist the boats currently mooring to find long-tem moorings which have proper permissions. The petition, full of inaccuracies attempts to put the blame on anyone but the person responsible for the situation. If the residential boats support the illegal activities, both time-wasting, and costly, they will most likely fast lose any sympathy.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • RV2008. I live in Norwich. Norwich is a city which contains a wide spectrum of people of all types, culture and lifestyles. This variety is what makes living in a city an interesting and vibrant thing. I welcome diversity as a good thing.

    Report this comment

    NR23Derek

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • NR23Derek, would love to hear if your opinion changed if these people were 25 yards from YOUR abode!

    Report this comment

    RV2008

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Thanks for that information Phil Grimes, five options dismissed by the BA in favour of spending 90.000 on lawyers they have not got. 90.000 less for navigational work. all this info is nowhere in the article above. Why not. To those who are worried that their house prices go down I can only say, long overdue and not down to those who are eking out a living on their boats. As yet our councils have not realised how Broads moorings could ease the pressure on housing at reasonable costs. Another point, where is the alternative housing? was there any offered? were are these people going to live affordable?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Why are people, who not local, signing a petition to support breaking the law in our neighborhood. Would they like unregulated development on their doorstep? Help should be given to find proper, regulated moorings for the boats, but a petition which is full of distortions about what is really happening is so, so wrong. Some people sign will anything without finding out the full facts for themselves.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Jacquie Burgess is quoted as saying the BA "had no option but to take [the action]." This is just not true. The Report to the Committee dated 21 Aug 2105 and linked on the BA website actually puts five options before the BA, including (i) Take no action and (ii) Seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution with the landowner. It is entirely the BA decision to ignore these options and pursue action to evict. One of the reasons they give for rejecting the option of taking no action is the resources already committed - £90,000 according to the EDP report above. And the reason for this cost is the decision by the BA to pursue a confrontational policy over many years with varying degrees of incompetence. They are rejecting more moderate and reasonable approaches simply in an attempt to save face.

    Report this comment

    Phil Grimes

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • This is just another example of bland suburban ethics crushing non-conformist lifestyles. I find it sickening that people should worry more about upholding already inflated property values than the right of people to live somewhere. These people are happy there, if forced to move off where do they go? If the place is untidy then tidy it up.

    Report this comment

    NR23Derek

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • I am all for people living as they choose and doing what they like with their own property so long as it does not harm anyone. I view , for instance, North Norfolks move to compulsory purchase unoccupied properties as an infringement of the right to manage assets as one chooses and sheer hypocrisy in the light of so many holiday homes in the area. However, if a property is an eyesore and devalues neighbouring homes or if planning law is contravened then councils should act. it matters not one whit how many pseudo compassion signatures are obtained from those who view alternative lifestyles through rosy tinted specs. Of course if the matter is one of devaluation one might like to see compensation from supermarket and other projects given permission bang on residential boundaries-but planning law is an odd creature.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Think it would be best if they were evicted, have viewed the island from both the road and railway line and it looks a bit like a rubbish dump with abandoned tanks, barrels etc, would be better for it to revert to a nature reserve and haven for wildlife

    Report this comment

    Jenkins

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Evict with compassion. There's a planning process that all must follow - No different to a bunch of travellers making an illegal encampment or that "Castle" that must now be demolished built hidden behind hay bails elsewhere in the country.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • If these boatowners are allowed to stay and the owner of the site is therefor being allowed to do as he pleases with the land, does this mean it's the same for all Norfolk residents? Bring it on, I will now redevelop my couple of acres with high density housing without permission and damn the rest of you- excellent!!

    Report this comment

    RV2008

    Friday, January 1, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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