Stalham Staithe on the River Ant, Norfolk Broads has effectively been gridlocked by a small minority of boats for an extended period of time.
Some boats have been there for over two years according to some local residents.
The Stalham Staithe mooring is actually a public 24 hour mooring and is one of the most historic locations on the Norfolk Broads. It was used for trade wherries and many of the original buildings can still be clearly seen.
The boats which are trespassing have angered many local residents and businesses including many boaters who frequent the staithe mooring to access the town of Stalham for Tescos and other shops etc.
Local residents claim the boat owners have refused to move their boats and have effectively brought the public mooring to a gridlock making it unusable for any other people.
The frustration by boaters and residents has reached such heights that the local council has had to finally intervene after so many complaints ranging from petitions to news articles appearing in the Eastern Daily Press.
The frustration felt by boaters, businesses and residents has been exasperated by an overwhelming demonstration of apathy from many authorities.
The Broads Authority have not cleared the vessels despite being solely responsible for keeping the navigation clear. The Environment Agency has not got involved despite concerns from local residents. The Norfolk police openly admitted at a Stalham Town Hall meeting that it was out of their jurisdiction and further angered local residents by stating they would offer help and advice on claiming benefits.
The staithe was thought to be owned by The Poor’s Trust but this has turned out to be incorrect. The local council have now put in a claim of ownership which in itself has raised concerns. This has raised concerns because claiming ownership of unregistered land can only be done in the United Kingdom through a process of ‘Adverse Possession’ and this is a cycle that lasts 12 years. The concerns are related to how the council can fast track this process.
It is the intention of the council to spend in excess of £30,000 on the grass verge and then hand over responsibility to the Broads Authority.
The general opinion from local residents and boaters who attended the town hall for the council’s meeting on the subject of Stalham Staithe was that of great disappointment.
There will be a further meeting at the Stalham town hall on 29th July 2019.