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‘We’re just trying to get home’ - Couple stuck on boat due to broken bridge

PUBLISHED: 18:02 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:03 11 August 2020

Alan Coggs, 71, cannot get home after boating on the coast due to a broken bridge, inset, in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Alan Coggs/Denise Bradley.

Alan Coggs, 71, cannot get home after boating on the coast due to a broken bridge, inset, in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Alan Coggs/Denise Bradley.

Archant

A husband and wife who were boating along the coast are ‘stuck on holiday’ due to a broken bridge in Great Yarmouth.

The Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth when it was stuck last year. Picture: Archant.The Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth when it was stuck last year. Picture: Archant.

Alan Coggs, 71, and his wife Carolyn were due return home on Friday (August 7) after spending five days on their yacht.

The plan was to sail back up the River Yare, under the Haven Bridge, before mooring their boat at a marina in Brundall - but at the last minute they were told that the structure could not be lifted to allow their vessel pass through.

The couple, who live in Briston, outside Holt, have been stranded, since then, in Lowestoft marina.

Mr Coggs said: “We don’t know when we’re going to get back. We are having to pay for mooring fees here and we are just trying to get home.

Yachts moored at a marina in Brundall. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Ian Seath.Yachts moored at a marina in Brundall. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Ian Seath.

“We had come back to Lowestoft for one night, the next day we were planning to go through the bridge.”

Norfolk County Council has confirmed the bridge is unable to lift due to electrical issues.

A spokesperson said: “We are working with Peel Ports who operate the bridge, and also maintain it on behalf of the county council, to resolve the issue as swiftly as possible.”

Last summer also saw problems when the bridge became stuck in the lifted position, leading to long delays for motorists and pedestrians - but in July the county council announced a £1.2m refurbishment is due to begin after Christmas.

Dr Ian Seath, 67, with his dog, onboard his yacht. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Ian Seath.Dr Ian Seath, 67, with his dog, onboard his yacht. Picture: Courtesy of Dr Ian Seath.

The latest problem has also affected other boatowners – with at least two yachts stuck in Brundall, their owners having eventually returned home by train to Lowestoft on Monday (August 10).

Mike Waters and Dr Ian Seath, who had been travelling the Broads in separate boats, said the experience has put them off coming back to the area again.

Dr Seath, 67, said: “We will certainly not be returning.

“We’re completely stuck, barricaded, we can’t get out. This is costing us money in mooring fees.”

He said the only way to take the boats home would be to remove the sails, masts and rigging and take them under St Olave’s bridge.

“That is probably a week or more’s work and quite a lot of expense,” he said.

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Mr Waters said the situation means he is “stuck in limbo”.

“It’s put us off coming up again,” he added.

Peel Ports has been contacted for comment.


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