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‘It looks like a verruca’ - Man sets up petition for removal of sunken houseboat

PUBLISHED: 16:23 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 16 June 2020

Miles Weston, 49, has set up a petition urging the Broads Authority to remove a sunken houseboat from the banks of the River Ant. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.

Miles Weston, 49, has set up a petition urging the Broads Authority to remove a sunken houseboat from the banks of the River Ant. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.

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A man frustrated with the dilapidated state of a houseboat that sunk almost two years ago has set up a petition urging the Broads Authority to remove the vessel.

The houseboat sank in November 2018 in Sutton Broad, a branch of the River Ant, and has not been removed. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.The houseboat sank in November 2018 in Sutton Broad, a branch of the River Ant, and has not been removed. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.

The blue-and-white boat went down in November, 2018, in Sutton Broad, a branch of the River Ant, near a confluence with another branch of the river which leads to Stalham.

At the time the authority said they did not know how the vessel sank and it would be the owner’s responsibility to recover and repair it.

More than a year and a half later, the boat is still there - and Miles Weston, 49, who lives in a boat on the Broads, is at his “wit’s end”.

“Since 2018 the boat has remained there, festering, and is slowly breaking up,” he said.

Miles Weston, 49, has set up a petition urging the Broads Authority to remove a sunken houseboat from the banks of the River Ant. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.Miles Weston, 49, has set up a petition urging the Broads Authority to remove a sunken houseboat from the banks of the River Ant. Picture: Courtesy of Miles Weston.

“The roof nearly came off during Storm Ciara. At any time it could end up floating down the river and it would be an environmental and navigation hazard.”

A spokesperson said the Broads Authority is monitoring the boat but that it is “not a hazard to navigation”.

“The boat has a concrete hull which makes it more difficult to raise with costs estimated at £8,000 but also makes it less likely to break up and there is no evidence of pollution,” the spokesperson added.

Mr Weston, who has been boating in the area for six years, insisted the vessel is “blocking navigation”.

“It’s a spot people use for mooring and wild fishing,” he said.

His petition - which so far has almost 200 signatures - is an attempt to raise awareness of what he calls “a blot on the landscape”.

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“This boat doesn’t belong there, it’s a place of natural beauty. It has basically been fly-tipped there. It looks like a verruca.”

The Broads Authority said it has removed three wrecks and dealt with more than six abandoned or sunken vessels so far this year.

“This eats into the navigation budget funded by other toll-payers which is why we look to get those responsible to deal with them. It is possible for the relevant land owner to get a boat removed but consideration has to be given if the costs are likely to be recovered from the boat owner.

“Our offers of financial assistance and practical resources have not yet been taken up. It is possible that the Broads Authority may be able to use its dredging rig to remove the vessel but we would only do this if it is possible without disrupting our already full schedule of works,” the spokesperson said.


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