Boat owners at Forton Lake in Gosport 'stuck in a pond' due to council-run bridge not working

BOAT owners in Gosport have been left unable to use their vessels due to a bridge needing repeated repairs.

By Toby Paine
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 3:07 pm

Many have been left stranded due to a fault in the mechanism that opens and closes the bridge over Forton Lake.

Ian Hill has owned his boat for 20 years. But for the last three years it has been moored in Forton Lake unable to leave as the bridge is down.

And the irony of his boat's name Andiamo - meaning 'let's go' in Italian - isn't lost on him.

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Ian Hill sitting on his boat Andiamo at Forton Lake in Gosport. Picture: Toby Paine

‘I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that I won't be able to get it out,' he said.

'I’m not a youngster. If I go what’s going to happen with my relatives? I can't even take it to a scrapyard.

‘What the hell’s going to happen after I go? That is something that has played on my mind for quite a long time.

Fellow boater Ian Gregory said mooring his boat Genevive at Forton was a costly venture.

Vikki Roney has been restoring an RAF rescue launcher used in the Second World War. At Forton Lake in Gosport. Picture: Toby Paine

‘It’s cost me £10k,' he said. 'The way it is at the moment I’d say I'm losing money quite rapidly on it.

'If it was to go on the market now it would be ripped apart by the surveyor.

‘I’ve been hoping to get the work done so I can get out and sail but I can't.

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Forton Lake bridge in Gosport. Picture: Toby Paine

‘It’s hacked me off. You do like to be able to get away for the odd weekend and I can’t because I’m stuck in a pond.’

Over the past year, Vikki Roney has been restoring an RAF rescue launcher used in the Second World War.

She wants to restore the boat to its former glory on the exterior while also modernising the interior.

Vikki said: 'We can’t get her done underneath because the bridge doesn’t work.

‘It puts quite a lot of pressure and strain on us because she is taking in water and all the time there’s no facilities here.

‘It’s destroying lives down here - I'm very depressed.'

She added: 'With the council, it’s excuses after excuses - and to me it’s unacceptable.'

Gosport Borough Council has contracted specialist engineers to repair the bridge and hopes to have it fully operational next week.

A council statement said: 'The bridge reopened to cyclists and pedestrians wishing to cross last month but there has been a delay in restoring the lifting function of the bridge.

‘A test raising of the bridge is due on (December 8) and then we hope the lifting mechanism will be operational again.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.’

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