Action taken over boat home on Harwich beach

Thursday, 9 March, 2017

A man who has lived under a boat on Harwich beach for a number of years during the summer has been told to remove it by early next month.

Graham Williams, known locally as Catweazle, has used the boat as his home – on and off - over a long period of time.

It is believed that he has recently been living in Colchester.

Action was initially taken to try to move him on in 2012 but the situation has continued and now Tendring District Council (TDC) has received a number of new complaints about the boat.

Officers have visited the site on a number of occasions and Mr Williams has not been there. A notice was stuck to the craft on Monday giving him 31 days (April 6) to remove it from the beach.

If he does not do so then TDC will have it taken away and stored and he will be given at least three months to collect it.

Nick Turner, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Commercialisation, Seafronts and Parking, said that the Council had taken a reasonable approach to the situation.

"The local feeling up to now had not been strongly against the issue and people seemed to tolerate Mr Williams being there," he said.

"However, it is not a suitable place to live and we have received a number of complaints. There have been a couple of recent boat fires on that beach and there is now also a question of safety should anyone live in it.

"It is not always apparent whether he is there or not and should the boat go up in flames there is every chance he could be trapped in there.

"We feel that the time has come to act which is why we have decided to serve the notice and hopefully this matter will be resolved with Mr Williams."

Harwich does not have a large stretch of beach and it is popular with visitors during the summer.

"People living on the beach is definitely not something that should be encouraged – or allowed – especially in an area where we are trying to boost tourism," added Cllr Turner.

"It now appears that he has somewhere else to live and therefore the boat should be removed.!

Last updated on: 09/03/2017 - 07:59