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New ferry plan hits the rocks

PUBLISHED: 02:00 01 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

A PLAN to revive an ancient ferry for taking visitors to the new Sutton Hoo exhibition centre has hit choppy waters.

One objector has dismissed the National Trust's transport scheme as ''fantasy'' and claims it is unrealistic because crossings on the River Deben would only be possible for one or two hours depending on the tide.

A PLAN to revive an ancient ferry for taking visitors to the new Sutton Hoo exhibition centre has hit choppy waters.

One objector has dismissed the National Trust's transport scheme as ''fantasy'' and claims it is unrealistic because crossings on the River Deben would only be possible for one or two hours depending on the tide.

They warned Suffolk Coastal District Council that it would be uneconomic to run a ferry and to introduce it would increase the need for extra car parking at Woodbridge.

Other people expressed concern that the erection of a modern steel jetty adjacent to the Tide Mill would spoil the setting of the Grade I Listed Building and they called for a wooden jetty. They also said it would be preferable to use the existing ferry stage at Ferry Quay where a public boat service has run for years.

Another alternative put forward by consultees was the revival of a shingle path across the river which would allow visitors to cross between the tides.

The Trust wants to run a ferry between March and October at peak times with a boat carrying a maximum of 10 visitors who would then walk up to the Anglo-Saxon ship burial site. The tides would only allow a one-way ferry trip and an alternative means of public transport would be installed for the return journey.

Two planning applications have been submitted for the ferry. The Tide Mill Trust has asked for permission to install a six-metre long steel pontoon with timber decking and a safety barrier by the Tide Mill.

A gangway hinged from a raised platform on the quay would provide access to the jetty and the Trust wants the ferry by its building to encourage visitors to the Tide Mill.

The National Trust seeks consent to moor a pontoon to provide a ferry landing stage on the south bank of the River Deben, opposite the Tide Mill. It proposes to replace a small derelict hut with a new hut containing life saving equipment.

The Suffolk Preservation Society said: ''Given the limitations of tide and mud, this is a brave attempt to restore the ferry crossing of the Deben at this point.''

Suffolk Coastal will consider the plans on May 1 and 2 and officers have expressed concerns about the type of materials and the impact on the area which will need to be addressed.


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