Broads Authority to research riverbank erosion which closed popular footpath near Loddon
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The body responsible for the Broads has pledged to look into the erosion of a well-used riverbank and footpath and report back with its findings.
The area around Hardley Flood, which forms part of the 35-mile Wherryman's Way footpath from Norwich to Great Yarmouth, was closed by Norfolk County Council last year because of an unstable path and erosion of two bridges, with plans to assess the situation in summer.
Yesterday, the Broads Authority's navigation committee agreed to work with the council to research the rate of the riverbank erosion and future impact - but said solving the problem itself would prove too expensive.
Members heard the cost of replacing structures along the bank could reach hundreds of thousands of pounds, while major work on the bank itself could spiral into the millions - and that unless the erosion affected the navigation of the River Chet, the work did not necessarily fall inside the authority's remit.
Brian Wilkins said it was a 'major issue', while Alan Goodchild said he was 'wary that waiting for 12 months or so means it will disappear at a much faster rate'.
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But others said acting on impulse risked pushing the problem further upstream, including chief executive John Packman, who said: 'The difficulty I have is the scale of the issue, particularly if we could be talking about a figure as large as £3m.
'If we take responsibility for the beginning then we take responsibility for the long term and the scale of our reserves is well below what we would be talking about here. We need more information to decide how the authority places itself in relation to the issue.'
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The committee heard the area, to the north-east of Loddon, had not been maintained as a flood-defence bank since the 1940s and that water levels and velocity were now affected.
Loddon residents, councillors and businesses have been frustrated by the closure of the footpath, which is popular among both locals and tourists.
The authority expects to have a report with more detail by September.
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