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Enforcement officers drafted in as houseboat eviction gets underway in Norwich

Enforcement officers stand next to a police boat at Hardy Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Enforcement officers stand next to a police boat at Hardy Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

Enforcement officers have been drafted in to ensure boat owners move off land owned by Norwich City Football Club.

Some of the houseboat owners prepare to move a boat from the riverside at Hardy Road. Photo: Luke PowellSome of the houseboat owners prepare to move a boat from the riverside at Hardy Road. Photo: Luke Powell

People living in houseboats on the River Wensum were last week served eviction notices ordering them to move from the riverbank at Hardy Road.

The football club, which owns the land, gave the boat owners four days to leave the area - stating they were trespassing on private property.

Despite the deadline expiring on Saturday, the small community only started to begin moving on Tuesday afternoon.

Amos Erdman, who has been moored at the site for about two years, said he would have been more compliant if the club had handled the situation better.

Boat owner Ben Wallace aboard his house boat, Tiramisu. Photo: Luke PowellBoat owner Ben Wallace aboard his house boat, Tiramisu. Photo: Luke Powell

The 21-year-old said: “If they had been a bit more kind to us and gave us maybe a month to go, I would be more willing to do it. But there has been no negotiation.”

Mr Erdman, who works as a Deliveroo driver, moved his vessel a few metres up the riverbank to an area just outside the football club’s land.

Despite the eviction notice stating the boat owners had until 5pm on Saturday, January 19 to leave, Mr Erdman said enforcement officers did not arrive until Tuesday.

About three enforcement officers could be seen patrolling the area. A police boat was also moored up at the riverbank.

The boats at the Hardy Road riverbank on Tuesday. Photo: Luke PowellThe boats at the Hardy Road riverbank on Tuesday. Photo: Luke Powell

House boat owner Ben Wallace, who works two jobs, said boats had moored in the area for at least a decade.

The 39-year-old said: “The enforcement people have been calm and polite, and they have not tried to get on any of the boats.

“There is a reluctance to go from here, but it is also about finding somewhere else to moor up.

“I’m hoping to leave by today [Tuesday].”

The location of the boats at Hardy Road. Photo: GoogleThe location of the boats at Hardy Road. Photo: Google

About seven boats had originally been moored at the riverbank, along with a makeshift camp lived in by two people.

By 2pm on Tuesday, about two vessels had moved and the camp had been taken down.

Mr Erdman said a fire was started at the camp on Saturday, prompting the fire service to attend.

Enforcement officers at the scene did not wish to comment.

Norwich City Football Club was also contacted for comment.

Are you facing eviction? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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