Broads Authority denies targeting houseboat owner

Chris Moffatt on board Heather. Picture: ANDREW STONE

Chris Moffatt on board Heather. Picture: ANDREW STONE - Credit: Archant

The owner of a vintage houseboat moored at Hoveton believes he is being unfairly targeted by the Broads Authority.

Chris Moffatt on board Heather. Picture: ANDREW STONE

Chris Moffatt on board Heather. Picture: ANDREW STONE - Credit: Archant

Chris Moffatt, the co-owner of Houseboat Heather, said the authority's rangers were using bullying and harassment tactics in an effort to force him from the water.

However, the authority denied the allegations and said it did not have a personal agenda against Mr Moffatt.

Speaking about a recent incident where he was questioned by rangers, Mr Moffat said the authority was 'obsessed' with whether he lived on the houseboat.

He said: 'Just recently I had a ranger approach me on a Sunday and start questioning me whether I live on board Heather because someone else had enquired about it. It turned out the enquiry had been made by one of the Broads Authority's planning officers.'

Houseboat Heather moored near Wroxham Bridge. Picture: ANDREW STONE

Houseboat Heather moored near Wroxham Bridge. Picture: ANDREW STONE - Credit: Archant


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While the Authority confirmed a ranger had spoken to Mr Moffatt, a spokesperson said the complaint had come from a member of the public.

'In response to complaints from local residents one of our rangers asked Mr Moffatt if he lived aboard his boat which had been moored in Hoveton for some time.'

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Mr Moffatt, who said he did not live on the houseboat, bought Heather in 2007. He said his problems with the authority started soon after.

'I have had to move her around as the authority forced us from a number of moorings for various reasons.'

Heather took up her current mooring near Wroxham Bridge in 2016.

'I believe the Broads Authority has something against houseboats – Heather doesn't fit in with their plans for a national park or visitor attraction and they want us off the water,' he said.

'However, the houseboat is considered by many local people and visitors to be an asset to the area.'

The authority said it welcomed 'residential boats moored where they are authorised to do so and has made provision for these within the draft local plan.

'Should rangers receive complaints that a boat is being used as a permanent residence in a particular location without the appropriate permissions they will as a matter of course investigate and report the matter just as they would in any other scenario causing concern to others.'

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