Blunder hits boat plans
A COUNCIL blunder meant a riverboat operator had her licence approved and then revoked before she had even received it. The mistake has left Sarah Sims reapplying for the licence three months after submitting the necessary forms. She plans to launch the M
A COUNCIL blunder meant a riverboat operator had her licence approved and then revoked before she had even received it.
The mistake has left Sarah Sims reapplying for the licence three months after submitting the necessary forms.
She plans to launch the Marianne in time for Eel Day at the end of April and was told the go-ahead had been given.
But before the licence could be issued, East Cambridgeshire District Council licensing officer, Rowland Wilson, had to withdraw it because it had not been advertised properly.
The error came to light after riverside trader, George Peacock, who runs Peacock's Tea Rooms, wrote to council chief executive, John Hill, praising the idea of a "party boat" and asking whether an application was pending.
Two and a half weeks later he received a letter saying the consultation period had closed and, as his letter had been sent to the wrong department, it had been received too late.
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After an investigation, however, it was discovered the council had not conformed to the 28-day advertising period giving people the chance to comment.
The licence was revoked and Sarah was told she would have to fill in the forms again and reapply.
"It's all a bit odd," said solicitor George. "I'm one of these sad people who reads the legal notices in the paper and I hadn't seen anything about it.
"Forty-four people also signed a petition against plans for a floating restaurant - I can't imagine none of them had nothing to say about this application."
"Anything like this is annoying," said Sarah, "because it means I have to fill in the forms again. But the council has its rules and regulations and everything has to be above board.
"I sent in the original application early enough so I wouldn't have any problems."
The Marianne is a 48ft converted tugboat which will leave from The Maltings and travel the river towards Cambridge and back carrying up to 60 passengers.
East Cambridgeshire District Council licensing officer, Rowland Wilson, said: "Due to a number of technical issues the licence, although approved, was not issued.
"We have discussed these issues with the applicant who has agreed to resubmit their application which they did last Tuesday.