Wrecks to be removed

DANGEROUS wrecks that have been rotting away for years in the River Deben will be removed.A long-running campaign to clear up the river in the Melton area has finally achieved some success after money was found to take out four of the old boats.

DANGEROUS wrecks that have been rotting away for years in the River Deben will be removed.

A long-running campaign to clear up the river in the Melton area has finally achieved some success after money was found to take out four of the old boats.

In 1996 campaigners called for the urgent removal of shipwrecks that were creating an eyesore on the water. But plans to remove them floundered when it was first feared the project could cost up to £50,000 and there was a lengthy process required to establish if anyone owned them.

Now Suffolk Coastal District Council has announced that four boats will be removed. The council has been working in association with the River Deben Assocation and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit to clear the wrecks.


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John Davies, the council's countryside manager, said: ''We have been able to identify the funds to remove four wrecks and are particularly grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for contributing towards the cost of this work, which will remove eyesores along the route of the newly established Sandlings Walks Path.''

The removal is supported by the Crown Estates which own the river bed and it will be done next week by Mel Skeet of the Melton Boatyard. £1,000 from more than £500,000 lottery funding will go towards the costs.

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Rosemary Schlee, spokesman for the River Deben Association, said: ''This will tidy up the river. The wrecks are quite dangerous for rowers, swimmers and other people who use the river. There are another eight boats we would like to see removed but that will depend on funding.''

The boats are scattered in the Melton area. Three years ago Robert Simper, a member of the Association, made a guide to the wrecks. He found it was difficult to establish which was the most important historically because no one knew what future generations would be interested in.

He found lifeboats, inshore fishing boats, an 83ft Thames sailing barge reputed to have taken part in the 1940 Dunkirk Evacuation, a former Bailey bridge converted to a houseboat, cargo craft and a dredger.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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