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Boat trips on Diss Mere get go ahead

PUBLISHED: 09:06 14 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:27 12 July 2010

A picturesque lake is set to become a tourist attraction after town councillors gave the go-ahead for a ferry to operate on the six-acre stretch of water.

A picturesque lake is set to become a tourist attraction after town councillors gave the go-ahead for a ferry to operate on the six-acre stretch of water.

The initiative has come from local woman Zoe Denham who will be using a 12-seater electric powered open boat to give pleasure trips on Diss Mere.

Consent was granted by the town council's amenities committee this week, subject to a number of conditions which the 39-year-old mother-of-two is confident she can meet.

She said: “The mere is an inland waterway; I just want to use it as they do on the Broads. Hopefully it's going to encourage tourists and bring more trade to other business in the town.

“We'll be using a 19ft long boat which travels at a snail's pace and is non-pollutive. She's going to be called The Maiden of the Mere, aptly named by my 15-year-old daughter Rebecca.”

Lives have been lost at the mere over the decades, including that of a teenager who tried to swim across the lake.

Ms Denham has experience of boating and helped set up the

Big Dog Ferry on the River Waveney at Beccles. She stressed that life jackets will be available for passengers, and Maritime Coastguard Agency rules regards safe practice will be followed.

“I can't say when the trips will start, but it will be soon, and I will be having a launch party,” she added.

Town mayor Simon Olander, who chairs the committee, said: “As a council we are happy to go along with anything that's going to bring people into the town centre.

“We do understand that in the history of the mere there have been some tragedies. We obviously take this seriously and the health and safety aspect is going to be met by Ms Denham and her associates.”

Permission has been granted for the 2008 season only and the decision will be reviewed in September.

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