Waveney water taxi service plan unveiled

Ambitious plans to run a water taxi service between Lowestoft and Oulton Broad were unveiled last night.

Ambitious plans to run a water taxi service between Lowestoft and Oulton Broad were unveiled last night.

The 12-seater boat would stop at several places and give tourists and workers a new way of avoiding the area's traffic-choked roads.

Businesswoman June Mummery has bought the boat, which is currently being restored, and hopes to get the service between Mutford Lock, Oulton Broad, and North Quay, Lowestoft, up and running by the start of March.

If it proves successful, Mrs Mummery, who runs a fish auctioneer's and a seafood restaurant, said she would consider buying a second boat to increase the number of services.

"Lowestoft needs a ferry because of the traffic problems. I think everybody will use it, including a lot of commuters.

I'm extremely excited - I've fallen in love with this boat and I just think she's perfect. I've got my eye on another boat and if the first one works, I'll have one going up and one coming down."

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The boat, a 24ft steel hulled vessel, would take approximately 15 minutes to travel between Oulton Broad and Lowestoft, and

its stops would also include the Asda supermarket in the town and Haven Marina, were Mrs Mummery is about to open her new restaurant called Go Fish. The cost of using the service has yet to be decided.

While Mrs Mummery wants to launch the water taxi within weeks, she admitted there were several hurdles to clear, such as finding funding to put up new pontoons at some of the proposed stopping points.

She has held talks with Waveney District Council and Associated British Ports, but admitted she was disappointed about the length of time it was taking to resolve matters.

"Lowestoft has never had a ferry and now the council will have to hurry up and pull

its finger out," said Mrs Mummery. "They are enthusiastic, but how important is it to them? I'm the one taking the risk."

Paul Moss, regeneration project manager at Waveney District Council, backed the plans for a water taxi, but insisted it was not the local authority's responsibility to pay for the construction of new pontoons.

"We do not have any money for pontoons and we are not in a position to provide funding for them," said Mr Moss.

He added: "June is the driving force and we

are working with her to sort out what

we can."

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who wants the Highways Agency to put on river taxis while the Bascule Bridge area is disrupted by months of repair work, supported the idea of a more permanent service.

He said: "I think in a town like ours, any new form of transport is very welcome. It will make a welcome contribution to Lowestoft and I'm sure people will find it a very novel and interesting form of transport."

Darren Newman service manager for tourism at Waveney District Council, added: "It's a great opportunity to link the town to Oulton Broad and the coast to the Broads. It's important to push it forward and encourage visitors to use it."