Bunglers fence off riverside life-saver

Laura Bagshaw A VITAL piece of life-saving equipment positioned close to the fast-flowing River Yare has been fenced off. Members of the public can no longer reach a lifebelt situated on one of the wooden jetties at Darby's Hard in Gorleston after the area was fence off by the borough council.

Laura Bagshaw

A VITAL piece of life-saving equipment positioned close to the fast-flowing River Yare has been fenced off.

Members of the public can no longer reach a lifebelt situated on one of the wooden jetties at Darby's Hard in Gorleston after the area was fence off by the borough council.

The eight foot metal frame has replaced temporary fencing put up following a council survey of the rotten wooden jetties which showed they were in need of restoration.

While the temporary fencing could have been moved in the case of an emergency, new fencing fixed into the ground completely obstructs access to the lifebelt. There is a gate in the fencing although this is secured with a padlock.

Watch manager at Yarmouth Coastguard Mario Siano said while he believed the fencing would have been put up because of health and safety reasons, the lifebelt should be moved to a place where it is accessible.

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He said: “Lifebelts are important. They are there for a reason and should never be interfered with for reasons other than life saving and it is unwise to hamper access to them.

“The river is very dangerous and flows up to six knots. People who have fallen into the river have drowned.”

Mr Siano stressed the Coastguard would never advise people to jump into the river to save someone but instead raise the alarm.

Darby's Hard has been in the spotlight recently thanks to Riverside Road resident Barry Tough who has transformed the dishevelled dockside - once a thriving fishing area - into a simple tidy garden.

The borough council's head of architectural services David Frowde confirmed this week that a survey in the state of the Dolphins was being organised with a view to a repair and restoration project.