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Hi all,

 

Please see below an update on progress at the St Benet’s Abbey moorings, further to the email I sent you last week.

 

Progress update on St Benet’s Abbey 24 hour moorings (23 March)

 

As reported last week, the Authority took the decision to barrier off approximately half of the length of our St Benet’s 24 hour moorings due to safety concerns. We understand boaters’ frustrations with this news and have an update to issue on this matter to provide further context and re-assurance.

 

As reported to Broads Authority Members on Friday 19 March, the Broads Authority has a lease agreement to use the piling and a small strip of land as a free 24-hour mooring. This lease runs until 2027.

The potential piling removal at St Benet’s has been known to the Authority since 2019. Three exempt (pink) papers have been before the Authority’s Navigation Committee in June 2019, July 2019 and January 2020, outlining this risk and suggesting a course of action that could resolve the matter. This remedy contained financial information, hence the confidentiality of the reports. The proposed solution within the pink papers was endorsed by the Navigation Committee and we have been working towards that outcome.

 

In 2020, the Authority successfully negotiated with the Landowner and had a verbal agreement on the details of a new 25-year lease. This lease agreed a suitable rent, and saw the Authority take full maintenance responsibilities for the piling, site maintenance, site safety and on-going safety checks.

 

Using the assurances in place that a lease was forthcoming, the Authority started a tender process which would see the capping and waling (the mooring timber work) replaced. The value of this contract was £48,000.

 

The contract was programmed to begin in March 2021 and last for approximately 6 weeks, with the mooring being fully available by mid-April, to coincide with the Government’s roadmap of easing lockdown.

 

During February 2021, we were made aware of an issue whereby the Landowner had not signed the agreement with the Environment Agency (EA) for the piling responsibilities. The Landlord’s Solicitors had raised a concern on a particular indemnity clause within the EA contract. This matter was referred to the EA’s solicitors, so the two legal firms could discuss and find a solution.

Whilst the Landlord’s solicitors and the EA’s solicitors discussed the legal issue, the Broads Authority was left without a legally binding lease, the need for a substantial investment in timber work, and no guarantees that the piling would remain. Therefore, we delayed the maintenance work until the situation was resolved. We took the view that the Authority should not invest £48,000 of toll payers money on a location that was under threat of being removed.

 

We have now spoken to all parties and have given our assurances and commitment that the Broads Authority will cover the Landlord’s indemnity clause and that the Broads Authority will be responsible for the piles going forward. This is in line with our original plan, however the landlord of the site had required independent legal advice and also had every right to seek assurances.

 

Our chosen contractor is still ready to commence works and they are planning a methodology that will see small section of the timber worked on at a time, allowing the mooring site to operate with only short sections unavailable.

 

We are therefore hopeful for an agreement between all parties by early next week, enabling us to have a two week window to begin the work at this iconic mooring site before lockdown is eased further on 12 April. Please be assured that we are busy working to secure this vital location’s future as a Broads Authority free 24-hour mooring.

 

https://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/boating/navigating-the-broads/boating-news/progress-update-st-benets-abbey-moorings

 

Best,


Tom

 

Tom Waterfall

Senior Communications Officer

Direct dial 01603 756034

 

Broads Authority 

Yare House, 62-64 Thorpe Road, Norwich NR1 1RY

 

Please note that my normal working hours are 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

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Sounds more encouraging! Shame some people did not wait until they knew the full facts before the usual process began of slinging mud around!

Or have I missed the conspiracy which is bound to be hidden somewhere?

Thanks Tom for your clarification

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Good to be thread on own for now, probably why Alan did it. 
 

have locked it, you can all comment on other thread. I am sure a Mod will be along to sort it all out.

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