Thorpe St Andrew ferry owner’s river venture could help council to cover new costs

Mark Wakelin is looking to expand his ferry service from River Green in Thorpe St Andrew as he hopes

Mark Wakelin is looking to expand his ferry service from River Green in Thorpe St Andrew as he hopes to introduce canoes and rowing boats to encourage more people to use the area.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A ferry owner is aiming to get more people using the River Yare – and help a council cover its mooring maintenance costs.

Mark Wakelin is looking to expand his ferry service in Thorpe St Andrew from next year to include canoe and rowing boat hire.

He hopes the scheme will encourage more people to use the stretch of water and allow him to continue operating his hourly service.

But the venture is also expected to help the town council as it looks to cover up to £10,000 in maintenance costs on River Green from 2017.

Mr Wakelin, 62, said: 'I currently run the ferry service but it really isn't viable and I make no money out of it all.

'The idea is that by offering people the chance to hire boats and canoes it will allow me to continue operating.

'I also realise the situation the council now finds itself in and I have said to them that I am prepared to pay a reasonable mooring rate.'

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From next year the council will have to pay annual costs of up £10,000 to maintain 170m of quay heading on River Green. It comes after the Broads Authority took the decision not to renew its lease of the moorings for the first time in 20 years.

The council must now find ways to cover the costs of any future maintenance and structural works.

Town clerk Thomas Foreman said the council was looking to work closely with Mr Wakelin and the Great Yare Ferry Company.

'We hope that in time this [new venture] will raise some funds for the ongoing maintenance of the moorings,' Mr Foreman said. 'In addition, the council may also seek to charge for some moorings in a further effort to generate income to meet the costs required for maintenance.'

The council is also working with Broadland District Council and the Broads Authority to encourage more visitors to the town. The Authority said it decided not to renew its lease of the moorings on River Green due to a lack of use.

Are you launching a community venture? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684

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