Disabled fisherman protest on Lowestoft South Pier at new barrier

PROTESTERS have vented their anger about a new barrier at Lowestoft's South Pier amid claims it blocks access for some disabled fisherman.

More than a dozen people descended on the pier at 7am on Friday June 1 where they temporarily blocked entry to delivery lorries and carried out a four-and-a-half-hour peaceful protest over seen by police.

Their concerns were directed towards a new barrier installed by Waveney District Council, which allows businesses vehicle access to park on the pier, but prevents the general public.

Will Peek, of the South Pier Blue Badge Anglers, said it was restricting disabled fisherman who need to park on the pier in order to carry their heavy equipment.

But a spokesman for the district council said disabled fisherman are welcome to drive mobility scooters on to the pier and fish, but they had to install a barrier in order to comply with regulations set by pier owners Associated British Ports (ABS).

Mr Peek, 65, of Lowestoft, a retired car inspector, suffers from a number of health conditions.

He said: 'They are stopping us from fishing because we cannot take our cars onto the pier, which we need to carry our equipment.

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'I have spent a fortune on fishing rods but now they are no good to me because I can't fish.

'I love sea angling because you can always pick up a nice Sole or a Bass, which is worth having.'

The district council began installing the barrier from May 21.

A spokesman from the council confirmed they leased South Pier from ABS who restrict vehicle access within the terms of their lease due to concerns for the pier's safety and structure.

However, businesses at South Pier can still access their leased and owned areas, while emergency services and maintenance vehicles are also allowed to drive onto the pier.

Stephen Ardley, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for operational partnerships, said: 'The safety of the pier and all its users is the most important thing and we must abide by the terms and conditions of the lease. Unfortunately, this is not something we have a choice over.'

A spokesman from Suffolk Police said: 'Suffolk Police attended a protest on Friday June 1 at the entrance to the South Pier in Lowestoft. The protest was peaceful and passed without incident.'

Disabled fisherman in Lowestoft set up South Pier Blue Badge Anglers to bring their concerns to people's attention.

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