Legal action threatened over revived Norfolk Broad

The Broads Authority says restoration work on Sotshole Broad near Norwich was not authorised Photo: Malcolm Robertson / ITV Anglia

The Broads Authority is under fire for threatening legal action against a Norfolk man who has brought an overgrown, derelict broad back to life.

David Pooley bought Sotshole Broad near Norwich in 2005 and has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on what he describes as a labour of love.

He's created walkways and put in a wooden quay to help develop the site as a haven for wildlife.

David Pooley bought Sotshole Broad near Norwich in 2005 and has created walkways and a wooden quay Credit: Malcolm Robertson / ITV Anglia

But the Broads Authority says that because he didn't follow the correct planning procedures, he must return it to its original state - which would mean ripping out the footpaths, walkways and quay.

If he doesn't do so, he could end up in court."I find it incredible that they're doing this to me," said Mr Pooley.

"To all intents and purposes this broad was dead and now the Broads Authority wants me to return to how it was."

He said the Broads Authority had initially been keen to help him develop the site but had withdrawn because of financial pressures.

Image of Sotshole Broad before the work was done with the red line indicating the size of the broad now.

The local parish council is supporting him and is urging the Broads Authority to think again.

"What David has done here is remarkable," said Peter Crook, chairman of South Walsham Parish Council.

"It would be crying shame if this were to go waste."

Local landowner Henry Cator commented. "What David Pooley has achieved in terms of improving drainage and bio diversity is wonderful. I hope everyone can get round the table and resolve this without the need for legal action.

Bluebell woods next to Sotshole Broad near Norwich Credit: Malcolm Robertson / ITV Anglia

The Broads Authority is considering its next move. A recent report to its planning committee said that any retrospective planning application shouldn't be granted.