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Easy access from sea for Broads boaters

PUBLISHED: 11:20 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:30 30 June 2010

Easy access to the sea for boaters travelling on the southern Broads is going to be safeguarded for the future now that the transfer of control of a lock is set for approval.

Easy access to the sea for boaters travelling on the southern Broads is going to be safeguarded for the future now that the transfer of control of a lock is set for approval.

Mutford Lock at Oulton Broad, is the southern gateway to the Broads and the Broads Authority, which is in charge of navigation and boating on the area's waterways, is now planning to formally take control of it.

The lock was put in place in the early 1800s to keep the fresh water which is upstream in Oulton Broad separate from the sea water in Lake Lothing, which leads out to sea at Lowestoft harbour.

The lock, which was improved during the construction of the new bridge in the early 1990s, is officially under the control of Associated British Ports (ABP), which manages Lowestoft harbour, but the Broads Authority has been operating it for some time, allowing easier access between the Broads and the sea.

Now the paperwork is being drawn up to officially transfer the jurisdiction to the Broads Authority to ensure easy access for pleasure boats for the future, as they have at Breydon Water in Great Yarmouth.

A report which will be presented to the authority's navigation committee tomorrow said that an informal agreement has been in place between the authority and ABP for some time, and now a harbour revision order is being completed so that it can be sent to the secretary of state for final approval.

It said: “The lock is of limited commercial interest to ABP. Their operation is confined to Lowestoft and Lake Lothing.

“On the other hand, the Broads Authority, as the navigation authority for the area, was keen to secure a second opening from its navigation jurisdiction to the sea - the other one being at Great Yarmouth. The provision of this second opening has made it much easier for users of the Broads waterways to gain access to the sea as often as they wish to.”

Broads Authority chief executive John Packman said that Mutford Lock is a key feature of the southern Broads.

He said: “Having agreed to this transfer some years ago, we are delighted that it is now going to take place. Mutford Lock is an important gateway to the Broads, and everyone agrees that it is sensible for the authority to look after it.”


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