Broken bridge blocking boats and sinking business

By | June 27, 2018

The TS Lord Nelson is stranded in Breydon Water due to the Haven Bridge fault. Photo: Liz Coates

A faulty bridge that caused gridlock in Great Yarmouth is costing river users thousands of pounds.

The Haven Bridge has faltered on numerous occasions lately, most recently experiencing an electrical fault on Thursday that brought traffic to a standstill.

The bridge has since reopened to motorists, but is unable to lift for boats – although the message was not received by the TS Lord Nelson.

The 37-metre-long grey boat is to be turned into a community cafe and museum in Woodbridge, Suffolk, and left the River Wensum in Norwich on Sunday.

However, the crew were denied thoroughfare upon arriving in Great Yarmouth and have since been moored at Breydon Water by the Broadland Great Yarmouth Rugby Club.

Cate Meadows, owner of the TS Lord Nelson, says: “The responsibility lies with Norfolk County Council, but they tell us it is contracted out to Peel Ports and they point the finger at them.

“When we left Norwich they must have known that we were on a dead end route, we didn’t know we were on a dead end route, we thought that the Haven Bridge would open, but they did nothing about it.

“The biggest difficulty is the stress of not knowing what’s happening. We can’t send the tug men home, we can’t reduce costs in any way because we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

“The cost implications of this are £3,000 a day – £1,700 a day plus VAT for the tug and a £1,000 a day for the boatyard manager and his staff.”

The closure of the bridge is also impacting business for Goodchild Marine, who say they have already lost a contract worth thousands of pounds as the client could not afford to wait.

Mr Goodchild’s business is being affected by the bridge closure Picture: James Bass

Alan Goodchild, founder of Goodchild Marine, says: “The main problem is we have got brand new boats the we’re launching which are due for delivery with penalty clauses attached to them.

“I feel frustrated because we’re really trying to promote local business and marine industries for East Anglia and it just feels like we’re constantly battling against red tape – even when they’re operational, getting a bridge lift is a nightmare.

“More frustratingly, we’re not getting any clear messages about when it is going to be fixed. I don’t think they really know what to do to fix it.”

Story by Jacob Massey for the Eastern Daily Press