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Call for action to improve ferry access

todayOctober 16, 2021 18

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County officials are exploring potential ways to upgrade the infrastructure of, and travel links to, Lynn’s pedestrian ferry service.

Operators of the historic service, together with a local councillor, say improvements are needed both to increase passenger numbers and on environmental grounds.

The six day a week crossings of the River Great Ouse resumed in September last year, following the initial coronavirus lockdown, under the stewardship of Ben Ellis and Richard Stannard.

Lynn's pedestrian ferry
Lynn’s pedestrian ferry

But Mr Ellis is concerned that the condition of the walkways and steps leading down to the river from both the town and West Lynn sides may be putting people off from using it.

He said: “To encourage more passengers to use the ferry, the steps on both sides need to be improved.”

But the issue may be complicated by what Norfolk County Council officials believe is a lack of clarity about who actually owns the steps on each side of the river.

Ferry operator Ben Ellis believes more needs to be done to make the service a more attractive option for travellers.
Ferry operator Ben Ellis believes more needs to be done to make the service a more attractive option for travellers.

A spokesman told the Lynn News: “We would be willing to work with the owner of the steps to look into what we could do to help facilitate potential improvements.”

The call for action is being supported by the area’s divisional county councillor, Alexandra Kemp, who has described the ferry’s infrastructure as “crumbling” and written to senior figures calling for urgent action to resolve the problems.

She has also called on the county authority to build a new footpath along Ferry Road, between West Lynn and the nearby village of Clenchwarton. There is currently no path along the route outside West Lynn.

She says the need was highlighted by a collision on the road, which is covered by a 40 mile per hour speed limit between the two villages, earlier this year in which an elderly pedestrian was injured.

Miss Kemp estimates the scheme could cost up to £40,000 to deliver, but insists it is necessary both to make the route safer for pedestrians accessing the ferry and local business, as well as to reduce carbon emissions.

She said: “We cannot meet our carbon reduction obligations unless we start now, by improving connectivity between the villages next to Lynn.”

The county council spokesman said: “We have looked into the costs of such a scheme and are working with the local county councillor to explore possible funding sources.”

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