Plan for punting on Norwich’s River Wensum gets go-ahead

The way has been cleared for chauffeured punts to be operated on Norwich's River Wensum.

The Canterbury Punting Company believes the city's river has rich potential for punting, but needed to get planning permission for a floating pontoon and ticket office close to Norwich Playhouse in St Georges Street.

The company had already secured permission from the Broads Authority, but also needed Norwich City Council to approve the scheme.

Councillors unanimously agreed to grant that permission at a meeting of the city council planning committee today.

The company, which already runs punts in Canterbury and Cambridge, hopes to offer trips which range from daytime historic tours to candlelit voyages in the evenings and even river-based ghost tours, with the punt chauffeurs in old-fashioned costume.

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Anglers had lodged objections to the pontoon proposal, saying it would mean the loss of a long-standing and popular fishing spot.

But officers said they did not consider the pontoon would unduly impact on fishing, with the lower bank still accessible.

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The company confirmed they are prepared to offer anglers access to the pontoon, provided it does not impede upon staff, customers and the safe operation of punting tours.

The punting plan comes after civic watchdogs and heritage chiefs said last year that the potential of the River Wensum as a major draw for tourists and businesses was being wasted.

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