A Yorkshire model boat group that has used the lake since 1937 is angry at the tough new rules and ‘harassment’

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Model boat enthusiasts in Sheffield have spoken of their frustration over problems using a boating lake in the park where they have been boating since 1937.

The Sheffield Ship Model Society meets three times a week at Millhouses Park and says it has a good relationship with former pedal boat operator Pullins, but reached choppy waters when the contract was awarded to a new operator in April.

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Group leaders say parks staff are now strictly enforcing a new rule that no one is allowed to have model boats on the lake after 10 a.m.

Sheffield Ship Model Society members clash with new owners of Swan Paddle Boating company

Group chairman Malcolm Senior wrote to Millhouses council officials and ward councilors complaining of ‘nothing but resistance to a just and fair resolution of the use of the Millhouses Park Model Boating Lake ,

by boat modellers, no offer of consultation, in fact, quite the contrary, my emails remained unanswered or gave rise to threats.

“Lies were told and a bullying attitude from Parks and Countryside became the norm. The yacht club has been deprived of its meeting place which is currently unusable by the club.

“Models have sailed the lake for 84 years, no license required and yet I am continually told that any boating by the yacht club, on the boating lake, is not permitted, where and when has this limitation been been introduced?

The Sheffield Ship Model Society meets three times a week at Millhouses Park

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He added: ‘The club, prior to Covid-19, held regattas which were subject to a £12 charge for each and a license was required for these, but as no regatta has been held for more than two years now, a license is clearly not necessary until regattas are reintroduced.

Mr Senior claimed: ‘Over the past few weeks these model sailing boats have been harassed by the paddle boat operator, park rangers’ and a member of council staff.

“Signs have been put up on the fences around the Millhouses Park model

Malcolm Senior, President of the Sheffield Ship Model Society, with members Louise Turner and James Crowfoot, holding a Vietnam Model Model Gunboat belonging to Louise.

Boating Lake stating that model boats are only allowed on the water until 10am.

Mr Senior said being able to use the boating lake and socialize together has been invaluable to club members, especially during the pandemic when people have been allowed to meet outdoors.

Club Commodore James Crowfoot said the pond was originally designed for model boats and the club had a good relationship with the Pullins family when they operated the pedalos.

Speaking of the new operator, he added: “I know he has to make money and he’s part of the park entertainment but we’ve been here since 1937. It sounds a bit silly.”

Fraser Hartley, a member of the Sheffield Ship Model Society, lets his dog Pippa take control of his sailboat.

Sheffield City Council has been approached for comment.

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