Narrow boats keeping visitors out, claims tourist

TOURISTS have complained about the “proliferation” of narrow boats on the River Great Ouse at Ely, claiming that they make it difficult for visitors to obtain moorings and get into the city to support the local economy.

Malaga resident Brian Foster says he and his wife cruise Cambridgeshire rivers for three months each year - and in the past have spent hundreds of pounds in Ely city centre.

He complained: “It has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible at times, to find a mooring in the City of Ely due to the proliferation of more and ever longer narrow boats.”

“In previous years we moored our cabin cruiser in Ely six times a season, spending approximately �160 in the city on each visit. But in more recent years we have increasingly been forced to moor in Littleport for provisions.”

He believes the narrow boats are costing Ely potential income, because visitors dine at cafes or restaurants and use local shops and services.

Mr Foster said the mooring problem could be partially resolved by narrow boars rafting on to each other, but claims that the craft rarely do that.

He has written to the Environment Agency and the City of Ely Council about the problem; the city council has passed the correspondence to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

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He wrote: “It is the ever increasing number of these very long narrow boats which are of great concern and dismay to visiting cabin cruiser owners, who are being systematically squeezed out.”

A spokesman for East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “Ely riverside is extremely popular with residents, visitors and tourists as a place to relax, meet friends or play.

“To ensure as many people as possible can moor their boats, we do enforce a strict 48-hour stay rule and encourage all boats to raft.

“We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the riverside.”