Hopes new canoeing pontoon on city riverbank will help breathe new life into Wensum

PUBLISHED: 16:04 07 December 2018

Canoeing on the River Wensum in Norwich Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Canoeing on the River Wensum in Norwich Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A new canoeing pontoon on the city banks of the Wensum is just the beginning of the river being put to greater use.

New Mills Yard in Norwich.

This is the hope of members of the Broads Authority’s planning committee, as they gave the green light for the new platform at New Mills Yard.

The BA had applied to itself to install a 5m by 1.5m pontoon at the bottom of the steps into the river, at the current moorings.

This application was unanimously approved by members of the committee on Friday, with hopes that it was an early step towards more people making use of the Wensum’s waters.

The application came as part of a wider scheme being piloted by Norwich City Council in partnership with the BA - the River Wensum Strategy.

Plans for a new canoe launch in Norwich have been approved. Picture: Broads AuthorityPlans for a new canoe launch in Norwich have been approved. Picture: Broads Authority

Gail Harris, the city council’s appointed member of the authority, said: “I think this is to be welcomed.”

Calum Pollock, planning assistant at the BA, told members the pontoon would be made of a slip-resistant plastic material and being a small structure in a wide section of the river would not restrict other users of the waters.

He said; “The pontoon 
would encourage use of the 
river by canoe and would be welcome and appropriate for the area.

“It is part of a wider strategy to promote use of the Wensum and there will be a demand for it.”

Meanwhile, an application has also been lodged with Norwich City Council to bring a pump house at the same site into new use.

An energy firm called Renewables First has applied to the city council to install a hydroelectric station in the pump house at New Mills Yard.

The proposals would see a 60kw Archimedes screw installed to the west of the bridge and a control panel installed inside the pump house. The application is to be decided in due course.

Unveiled by City Hall leaders in the summer, the River Wensum Strategy is a range of proposals designed to maximise the potential of the river.

Among the other ideas floated are a ‘river festival’ additional spots for anglers and a return of outdoor swimming at Wensum Park.

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