Smooth waters for festival plans

PREPARATIONS are well underway for the Inland Waterways Association s National Festival and Boat Show – dubbed St Ives on Water . The three-day event will take place across the August Bank Holiday weekend and is likely to see more than 400 boats descend

PREPARATIONS are well underway for the Inland Waterways Association's National Festival and Boat Show - dubbed 'St Ives on Water'.

The three-day event will take place across the August Bank Holiday weekend and is likely to see more than 400 boats descend on the town.

At the latest public meeting last week, a packed Methodist Church heard plans for the event are progressing well, with 280 boats already booked in for the festival.

John Adams, from the Environment Agency, reassured the meeting that planned dredging work to clear silt outside Salter's Lode lock would take place when conditions were suitable.


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In a question and answer session, organisers allayed fears that the three-day event would bring traffic congestion to the town.

Event chairman Sid Fisher, said: "Concerns were raised about the traffic issue but a lot of organisation will be in place to ensure this isn't the case.

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"Designated car parking areas will be set out and we are looking into the feasibility of a park and ride scheme to keep congestion in the town centre to a minimum."

Meanwhile, it was announced that temporary moorings will be put in place to cater for the visiting boats. It is expected 250 boats will be moored on the main meadow, 100 more on Noble's Field with others moored at Ely.

One of the top attractions at the festival will be the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain's East Anglian Rally. Steam boats will parade along the Great Ouse and escort the VIP launch for the Grand Opening on Saturday, August 25.

Mr Fisher added: "We are delighted with the response from volunteers but we welcome more involvement and offers of help."

* Ramsey waterfront is also to be landscaped with new moorings and lighting to attract visitors heading to and from the festival. Planning approval has been granted for the project, work is about to start and it should be finished by May.

Funded by the East of England Development Agency, the High Lode area will be revamped to include an interpretation board providing information on the history of the waterway. New public art will also be created which will provide links between the waterway and the town centre.

INFORMATION: Anybody interested in becoming involved with the St Ives on Water should contact Sid Fisher on 01480 495745. The next public meeting is on Wednesday, March 21, in the St Ives Free Church, Upper Hall. Arrive 7pm for a 7.30pm start. More information at www.waterways.org.uk

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