Boaters say Norwich would lose out with no yacht station

Boating holidaymakers yesterday gave a strong vote of support to Norwich yacht station – and warned they might not carry on coming to the city if it closes.

The EDP carried out a survey of visitors to the Riverside Road amenity in the wake of news that the city council is looking at the possibility of selling or closing it to save money.

The proposal, which would only save �20,000, is listed in the council's public consultation, Your Services, Your Say, in which residents are being asked to rank services in importance to help the authority decide on how to make �600,000 worth of cuts.

All the holidaymakers polled on their end-of-season break agreed that the reassurance offered by a manned facility, kept free of rubbish and anti-social behaviour, was a major factor in them coming to Norwich.

Civil engineer Paul Armin, 40, on holiday from the Durham area with his wife Jeanette and friends, said: 'It is brilliant; it brings you right into the centre of Norwich.

'I am sure the city would lose a lot of trade if it closes.

'We went out for a Chinese last night and went on to the cinema and a bar afterwards.'

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Police officer Neil Haywood, 27, on holiday from Leeds with his girlfriend Nicola Birkenshaw, 23, a nurse, said: 'You feel safe when you arrive at a manned station. We planned to come here after some quiet days in the country and went out last night in the city.'

He questioned whether they would have visited Norwich without the yacht station.

Marcelle Williams, from Anglesey, on holiday with her husband Mark and daughter Sian, said: 'We have been on the Broads four times and always look forward to the yacht station as a lovely stop-off point.'

Richard Aldis, on holiday from Beccles in his family group, said: 'We have been on the Broads 20 times and always come to Norwich yacht station.

'We love the city, which is keeping this end of the Broads alive.

'What is the point of closing it and losing the money its visitors are putting into the economy?'

Alan David, a Broads Authority quay assistant at Norwich yacht station for the past five years, said: 'It is a very good facility here offering a pump-out service and showers facility.

'One of our biggest functions is getting rid of all the rubbish that comes off the boats; at the moment it costs us �65 a week to dispose of.

'We also pick out litter from the river to stop too much debris floating through the city; we have had eight bikes and a stolen motorbike this year along with all the road signs, traffic cones and litter bins.'

He said the state of the yacht station at the end of its winter closure period – littered with broken glass and rubbish – indicated how it would quickly become 'very, very undesirable' if left unmanned.

Mr David also highlighted his safety role; one year he had helped rescue 17 people from the water.

A city council spokesman said they were awaiting the results of the consultation, which closes on October 12.

Meanwhile, talks over the yacht station's future were ongoing with the Broads Authority.