Sunken houseboat

A partially capsized houseboat which had fallen into disrepair following vandalism has been removed from the River Ouse, just south of Lewes in early December 2018.

Lewes District Council supported by partners including The Crown Estates, South Downs National Park, East Sussex County Council, Environment Agency and Sussex Police, used a specialist contractor to lift The Lady Grey out of the water using two cranes and the closure of the A26.

The handmade boat, around 30ft long, had taken on large amounts of water and silt and weighed almost 26 tonnes when lifted. The vessel had almost broken free of its moorings several times, most recently capsizing during stormy weather in November, and was targeted by vandals earlier this year.

Not being properly moored and falling into a state of poor repair it posed a threat to safety on the river and had the potential to drift into other boats, as well being a potential cause of flooding if it became entangled with a bridge.

To keep disruption to a minimum the boat was removed overnight on December 7th/8th to coincide with planned road closures in the area for maintenance of the Cuilfail Tunnel.

Councillor Isabelle Linington, Cabinet member for Environmental Impact, said: “Thank you to people living nearby and pedestrians for their cooperation in allowing us to safely dispose of the boat which had become a public safety issue.

“Thank you also to all those involved in enabling this removal to be carried out.”

The Lady Grey has now been removed with the consent of the owner.

Grey Lady Houseboat is craned out of the river Ouse at Lewes, East Sussex (Photo by Jon Rigby)