The Local Plan for the Broads: Issues and Options Consultation
20. Quay heading in front of quay heading
Landowners may want to improve a quay heading in a particular area to maintain it in a good condition, to reflect a change of how an area is used, or to replace the quay heading at the end of its life. They may do this by placing new quay heading in front of the original quay heading, rather than removing the original quay heading. The new quay heading tends to be placed 10cm to 50cm in front of the old quay heading. Timber quay heading tends to be replaced every 10 to 15 years and steel quay every 20 to 30 years.
Placing new quay heading in front of existing quay heading at a typical distance of 10cm to 50cm reduces the width of the river in that particular location. This is a particular issue in narrower areas with high volumes of river traffic. Importantly, reducing navigable space impacts on the ability of users to navigate safely.
One of the statutory purposes of the Broads Authority is to protect the interests of navigation. The Local Plan for the Broads has a strategic policy (SP13) that seeks to protect and enhance the navigable water space.
20.3 Removing the old quay heading first
Ideally, the old quay heading would be removed first, and the new quay heading would then go in its place. This would ensure that there is no encroachment into the river. However, this is not always done because it is costly and can be technically challenging, involving excavating land behind the existing quay heading. It can also result in a destabilisation of the riverbank and potentially of land slumping into the river or broad during the works.
20.4 Are some areas more problematic than others?
There are some stretches of rivers that are both narrow and have quay heading. In some areas, a small encroachment could have a significant impact on the available channel space. Another issue to consider is how busy a stretch of water is and the typical size of vessels that use that stretch. Therefore, any policy approach could apply to certain areas.
20.5 What happens at the moment?
In planning terms, we tend to use the strategic policy SP13. Under the Broads Act 1988, certain schemes require a Works Licence and one of the considerations in issuing these licences is impact on navigation. Taking these together, we usually request that replacement quay heading is not placed more than 30cm in front of the original. However, the reason we are raising this as an issue is that in some areas we are at a critical point and need to safeguard navigation from further encroachment.
- No specific policy approach to address quay heading in front of quay heading.
- Geographic risk-based approach. Map areas where the rivers are narrow and where there is already quay heading – through assessment of channel width and river usage, areas where new quay heading being placed in front of old quay heading would impact navigation would be identified. In the areas identified as being most impacted from encroachment, the approach could be to hold the existing line of the quay heading.
- Have a policy that applies to all the Broads, regardless of river width. This seeks to minimise the impact through set criteria for how far quay heading could be in front of existing.