Lodges fail to float council planners boat

Floating lodges not allowed at the Lazy Otter marina at Stretham, Picture; LAZY OTTER

Floating lodges can not be located at the Lazy Otter marina at Stretham. East Cambs Council has refused an application to allow existing permissions to be used and so a planning application will be needed. Picture; LAZY OTTER - Credit: Archant

Planners sunk hopes of moorings at the Lazy Otter marina being used for a floating holiday home.  

Annafield Ltd, who own the marina at Stretham on the Great Ouse, had applied to East Cambs Council for confirmation that their existing permissions allow for a house boat.  

The council says it will need a separate planning application after setting out a legal argument justifying its position.  

The Lazy Otter complex is set in 11 acres and was bought by the Gough family in 2007. 

A view from above. Picture: Facebook/The Lazy Otter

A view from above the Lazy Otter marina at Stretham. - Credit: Facebook/The Lazy Otter

They have since sold part of the site but retain the pub and the marina. 


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The council says the 9.75m long, 3.65m wide, house boat would have detachable services; an outdoor motor housed on the rear deck with a steering column on the front deck would have allowed it to move. 

Explaining the law, the council says the key judgement is whether a floating lodge can reasonably be considered a ‘boat’.  

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“If so, its mooring in the marina would not be a change of use,” says the council. “If not, its mooring in the marina would be a change of use and therefore not lawful without planning permission.” 

The council assessment quotes case law which has previously found that being able to navigate a river or open area of water, both in terms of scale and propulsion/steering, goes to the heart of whether something is a ‘boat’, concluding that “not everything that floats is a boat”.  

“The application states that floating lodges similar to this have been licensed by the Environment Agency as houseboats,” says the council. 

But the council doubts whether the boat is intended to or would be capable of easily navigating the waterways.  

“It appears to be designed to be moored up and used as accommodation," says the council. 

"It is considered that the application has failed to demonstrate that the floating lodge is a ‘boat’ in a genuine and meaningful way.  

“Rather it is considered that the floating lodge in question would struggle to fulfil the usual functions of what would ordinarily be considered a boat.  

“The siting of the floating lodge would therefore not fall within the lawful use of the marina. 

“For that reason, a certificate of lawfulness cannot be issued”

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