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Residents fight off firm who wanted to turn play park boat into scrap metal
AN attempt to turn a boat played on by generations of children into scrap metal has been foiled after a group of angry residents made a stand.
The former lifeboat has been beached on the shores of Poole Harbour , next to a children’s play park in Falconer Drive, Hamworthy, for more than 30 years, but earlier this week, scrap metal workers turned up to dismantle it.
John Moate, who has lived in the area since the houses were first built, noticed the men attempting to free the 20ft long steel hulk from its resting place before getting out cutting equipment.
He was among half a dozen residents who challenged them. With feelings running high, the police were called to the scene.
“I’m an ex-Royal Marine and there are lots of us living in the area who’ve raised our children here,” explained Mr Moate.
“The boat is a heritage piece that finishes the view. Children have played on it for generations.”
He discovered that a notice had been affixed to the wreck by harbour authorities, but when he rang them, he was told there had been a misunderstanding.
“I managed to get the phone to the scrap metal dealers and the Harbour Commissioners told them to hold off.
“As it’s a wreck, they’re not obliged to move it or clear it unless it’s a danger to navigation or a pollution hazard, and they’re happy for it to stay where it is.”
Jim Stewart, chief executive of Poole Harbour Commissioners said they had received a single complaint about a wreck in Holes Bay.
“We have no idea if it was from a bona fide resident,” he admitted.
“We put a notice on it asking if anyone knew who owned it.
“We have not authorised any scrap people to move the vessel and when we heard they had turned up on site, we instructed a resident to tell them stop what they were doing straight away.
“Because it is above the high water mark, it’s the responsibility of the land owner if they want it moved.”
The residents now plan to repair the damage caused by the scrap merchants cutting a line down the side of the boat and repaint it so it can continue to be an attraction.