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Boat trips on Diss Mere anyone?

PUBLISHED: 13:33 28 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 12 July 2010

It is a popular destination for Norfolk's angling and duck feeding communities.

But Diss Mere could be about to be turned into a tourist attraction following plans unveiled by a local woman.

It is a popular destination for Norfolk's angling and duck feeding communities.

But Diss Mere could be about to be turned into a tourist attraction following plans unveiled by a local woman.

Zoe Denham, who has lived in the town for the last ten years, believes the six acre stretch of water would be a perfect opportunity to launch a new pleasure trip business.

If supported by Diss Town Council, the mother-of-two could have a 12-seater, electric powered open boat in operation on the Mere by Easter, giving 15-minute tours, with full commentary.

The 39-year-old, who set up the Big Dog Ferry on the River Waveney at Beccles with her ex-partner two years ago, says the ferry would be a unique, affordable attraction which would give the town a much-needed tourism boost.

“There is a town trail and museum in Diss, but I think this will be an additional tourist attraction and help them to stay longer. We are blessed with having the Mere and I don't think it is being used enough at the moment. There is a history of having boats there before and I think it could be revisited again,” she said.

The businesswoman, whose great grandfather was a ferryman on the River Severn, said that the electric engine of the 19ft pleasure boat would be silent, cause little wake, and would not interfere with the privacy of householders living around the Mere.

Ms Denham, who hopes to use the landing stage at the Mere's Mouth as a boarding point, said the majority of responses to the plans had been “overwhelmingly positive.”

However, the idea has already prompted objections from members of the Diss and District Angling Club. Chairman Stewart McLean said the plans would present a “conflict of interest” between fishermen and the leisure boat business and would not be supported by the club.

Diss mayor Simon Olander said town councillors would consider Ms Denham's ideas in March, but he could not anticipate their decision.

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