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Boat owners on the warpath

PUBLISHED: 07:47 01 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

ANGRY boat owners have refused to pay a licence fee to moor their boats on private estate land by the River Deben.

They have complained about the escalating costs and the restriction on the access to the countryside at Ramsholt, near Woodbridge.

ANGRY boat owners have refused to pay a licence fee to moor their boats on private estate land by the River Deben.

They have complained about the escalating costs and the restriction on the access to the countryside at Ramsholt, near Woodbridge.

But Strutt and Parker, who manage the Adeane Bawdsey Estate, have defended their actions and said they had received letters of congratulations from some mooring holders who were pleased with improvements at Ramsholt Quay.

Last year Strutt and Parker wrote to mooring holders and introduced a licence to allow them to park a dinghy on estate property, leave their car in the free top car park and have access across estate land with a vehicle to drop off the dinghy.

Last year the cost was £25 and it rose to £35 this year with a proposed set of rises to take it to £90 in 2005. The estate agents said the licence had to be issued on a commercial basis to allow for repairs to the quay, the slipway and road and to invest in improvements.

The licence allows boat owners to drive along the estate road to Ramsholt Quay. Close to the quay is the Ramsholt Arms pub with a car park and pub visitors, who use the estate road, are unaffected by the licence.

Nick Green, of Woodbridge, claimed at a meeting of the River Deben Association, that the estate had effectively turned the road to the quay into a ''toll road'' and charged boat owners for using it.

His family has had one of the original two moorings on the river at Ramsholt – there are now about 200 – for more than 100 years. Mr Green said later: ''There is a principle at stake here. There are not many access points to the river and the Government is quite rightly trying to broaden access to the countryside, but landowners are fighting a rearguard action against it.''

Charles Loyd, an estate trustee and a partner in Strutt and Parker's land management department, said: ''I think for people to say they are being charged for a toll road is completely untrue. The licence does not state you must pay £35 to cross this road.

''If people want a service and put their dinghy on private land then it is reasonable that a charge should be made. ''

He said boat owners had been surveyed for their comments on improvements and as a result the quay had been repaired and a water supply laid on.


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