The Congleton Steamboat (update).

It seems that the “Pearl of the Dane” which is the real name for the Congleton Steamboat can’t keep out of the newspaper these days, unfortunately due to the wrong reasons. The following story appeared in the Congleton Chronicle on the 1st of December 2011 and is as follows: A response is still awaited by the Enviroment Agency in the quest to have the derelict boat removed from the river Dane in Congleton on the grounds that it poses a flood risk.

The “Pearl of the Dane” considered a Congleton eyesore by many, was discussed at the town council’s Community and Enviroment Commitee at the town hall last thursday. Councillors are investigating whether the boat is a flood risk and therefore would have to be removed. For years the derelict boat which was once a restaurant, has been a target for vandalism and arson. A build up of silt has caused the steamboat to list to one side. The town council has expressed concerns about whether the boat was adequately moored or was at risk of floating off, possibly blocking the river. Councillor Amanda Martin said ” I have been in contact with the Enviroment Agency about their investigations into the possibility of the “Pearl of the Dane” being a flood risk”.

As previously reported, the Enviroment Agency wants the documentation of the restraining mechanism from the original design architects.

Ray Morris, the owner of the boat, has promised to provide this in the near future. The Agency originally gave him until the 14th of October to provide this, but after receiving a letter from Mr Morris they have extended this until the end of November. Amanda Martin went on to say that when the agency receive the documentation they will still want to examine the mechanism to make sure that it is not corroded and is still in working order. However if the anchorage as described to them by Mr Morris has not degraded, they would not classify the boat as a flood risk and so would not take it upon themselves to repair the mechanism or remove the boat.

While the agency is still investigating whether the boat constitutes a danger, Mr Morris cannot be expected to put in serious work refurbishing the boat. However if the agency complete their

investigations and decide that the “Pearl of the Dane” is not a flood risk, he will need to convince us that he is serious about turning it back into a restaurant rather than just letting it moulder away.

Commitee Chairman councillor Glen Williams said ” I can only suggest that we continue to monitor it; I can’t see what else we can do. We’ll review it in three months.”

The former 80 seater floating restaurant has been empty for several years but in September, the “Chronicle” reported that Mr Morris planned to turn the 88 ton boat into a restaurant again.

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