OK, y’all listen up.
Archive for October, 2009
Our tireless correspondent, after the evasive reply from Dr Smith, reported here, has written to the other Parish Councils attending the infamous 10th September meeting
Kennet & Avon Canal User Group 19 Nov 2009 1930 hrs
The Canal Centre, Couch Lane, Devizes , SN10 1EB
This is a real chance to put your point of view to British Waterways. Whereas there is no excuse for the actions and behaviour of British Waterways it is also true that you, the boaters, need to put your side across and here is the opportunity.
Unfortunately any questions will probably be met by political non-answers but the sad reality is that if you are not there then BW will take this a sign that you are happy with their policies and behaviour and any complaint will be that much more difficult.
It is also necessary to have the voices to contradict the false allegations floating around.
If there is enough interest we will arrange a minibus. Email if you would be up for this, or using one of your big vans to take a few people.
You will find an archive for previous meetings here.
One of our correpondents has sent this letter to the Clerk of Bathampton Parish Council following publication of these allegations by Keith Rossiter on this site.
We eagerly await their reply.
Dear Mr Brimstone,
It has recently reached my attention that Keith Rossiter, of Bathampton Parish Council, has in a formal way made the following allegation against un-named boaters on the Kennet and Avon canal within Bathampton Parish.
These allegations, made in the minutes of a meeting between representatives of your council and British Waterways, attended on your behalf by Mr Rossiter who also prepared and signed the minutes, are that ‘liveaboard’ boaters;
“freely dispose of human waste and every other manner of trash in whatever location they choose”,
and that they;
“threaten anyone who chooses to call attention to the situation”.
These are two amongst other allegations made in the same minutes and in protracted correspondence between Mr Rossiter and British Waterways by email.
You will appreciate that these are very serious allegations involving breaches of the criminal law.
Can you please confirm that these allegations are the true position of Bathampton Parish Council as made by your representative to the body with the responsibility of managing the canals and that the intention is for British Waterways to take action over these offences.
Can you also confirm that Mr Rossiter is authorised to speak on behalf of Bathampton Parish Council to British Waterways and that the correspondence he has had with them is on behalf of, and the true voice of, the Parish Council.
Thank you for you prompt attention to this matter.
Well, boaties and other interested parties, we have another pile of stuff to sift through and publish, a series of email exchanges between Keith Rossiter of Bathampton Parish Council and Sally Ash of British Waterways.
Mr Rossiter really does have some thistles in delicate places as his frothing at the mouth rantings include such gems as;
[liveaboard boaters] freely dispose of human waste and every other manner of trash in whatever location they choose
I have put the whole exchange here;
Correspondence between Sally Ash and Keith Rossiter
It’s a bit of a mess this document so for your edification and amusement here’s a choice snippet or two from Keith, our guardian of propriety;
“Mooring situation is OK apart from Bathampton Bridge to Swing Bridge where it is a real mess of hardcore offenders“
“outbreak of chickens being kept by canal boats, Latest offender has set-up camp just west of Candy’s bridge – but there are several spots along the canal where this is now taking place. They keep them under nets pinned on to the towpath grass verge”
“reported vagrants using a disused brick building adjacent to Folly Foot Bridge”
“observed Saturday evening – 1700 approx. – family/ies with picnic tables, drink & fire (?) + scrambling bike using the field as a race track”
“I think it is important we stay focussed on the immediate problems of Claverton and Bathampton…. …At our last meeting, we gave a few words of encouragement to your enforcement team… …When we look at the mooring situation between the Swing Bridge and Candy’s Bridge, too many of the hard-core offenders are creeping back in. We really do need to get control of the situation properly and as you know the local representatives are eager to play their part”
I really like that ‘family with picnic tables’ Keith, can’t have that in old blighty, what, families with picnic tables, whatever next? Maybe vagrants in a disused building – love the language Keith, I haven’t heard the term vagrant in many a year, doesn’t it have a precise definition, did you check whether they had 12 pence in their pockets or offer them a train ticket? an “outbreak of chickens” – priceless, is that like measles?
And on the other side, we finally have an out-in-the-open, tellit how she sees it polemic from Sally Ash, glamorous sidekick of Simon ‘Satan’ Salem.
Sally Ash to Keith Rossiter
“The short term [element]* is to address the Parish Council’s immediate concerns on overstaying. On this we appear to be making good progress” *in the Outer Zone plans
“Living afloat is being perceived as an attractive and economical choice by increasing numbers of people, particularly on the edge of our towns and cities. Bath is no exception and we have been concerned for some time at the number of boats that have simply ‘put down roots’ without our permission along the towpath between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon.
My colleagues in our regional offices in Gloucester responsible for this length have been trying within their available resources to take effective enforcement action against these boats.”
And finally, unable to control himself, our Keith really goes to town in the minutes of the meeting;
Extract from the minutes written up by Keith Rossiter
“Parish councils’ perspective on canal issues.
The popular western end of the the canal form Bath to Bradford-on-Avon has suffered ‘ neglect, abuse and inappropriate development‘ , principally from a minority of liveaboard’ boaters who by default, have come to believe that they have the right to:-
- ‘liveaboard’ without a residential license, planning permission or the payment of local council tax
- moor long-term in one location or ‘bridge hop’ in an attempt to masquerade as continuous cruisers.
- treat the towpath and adjacent land as their own back garden, workshop or farmyard.
- freely dispose of human waste and every other manner of trash in whatever location they choose
- threaten anyone who chooses to call attention to the situation.
There is particular concern about the the untidy and ever expanding development on the western bank of the canal near Claverton – Watership Farm (“Digger Smith’s“ property)
Now come along Keith, there’s some pretty strong accusations in there.
“freely dispose of human waste” is a fairly heinous crime in anyone’s book and a criminal offence of great interest to the Environment Agency. Strange – you are prepared to make this kind of statement in a cosy coterie of your buddies – why haven’t you taken this to the Environment Agency, who have very strong powers to act? Is is perhaps because this accusation is unfounded? “
Threaten anyone who choose to call attention to the situation” – Last time I heard, threatening behaviour was a criminal offence, why have you made no complaint to the police about this?
Again because it is an unfounded slur, slung out in the hope of painting a picture that might be believable to a couple of officers from British Waterways fresh from the corporate towers of Watford but bearing little reality to the real world.
Now we know a little of how Keith feels – in public mind, in the face of warnings from Sally Ash that “The information contained in this email may be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000”
So how does he respond to a concerned letter from a former member of the Bathampton Parish Council?
Quote from the letter;
I was asking xxxxxxx recently about issues which I believe have arisen
with canal dwellers, the local community and the BWB and she said that
you may be the person to communicate with. I have no direct knowledge
of the issues but over the years, I have come to know some of the
canal dwellers well, particularly in connection with issues such as
the resurrection of the Link Road a few years ago where they have been
The reason for my contacting you is to suggest that in finding a way
forward in resolving these issues, it may be helpful to have an avenue
open for a dialogue with responsible members amongst the canal
Regarding canal issues, I am not sure that I am the person to
give you a full picture, as really this is very much a matter between
British Waterways and the boat owners, but I can give you information which
may help yourself and Peter. I guess there are two issues – one of mooring
zones and the other of parking – and I have separated these in my reply.
Bathampton Parish Council is aware that British Waterways is about to
publish a national consultation document on future mooring policy. We
understand that all interested parties, including boat owners, will have the
opportunity to comment on any proposed changes. Until we see the document,
we are not clear how this proposed new policy will affect canal moorings in
Bathampton Parish, but we do support British Waterways in their efforts to
bring clarity to mooring policy.
We know that many boaters have long-standing ties with Bathampton and can
understand their concern. The Parish Council has no control over British
Waterways licence conditions, but if changes are being proposed by British
Waterways, we will do our best to ensure that there is adequate
If there are to be changes in mooring policy, licence conditions or stricter
enforcement, we will urge British Waterways to consider individual cases and
allow an adequate period of transition before the new policy is fully
We expect the proposed national mooring policy to be published in November.
Once boat owners have had an opportunity to study this document, they should
make their views known to British Waterways and if they think it would be
useful, copy the Parish Council so that we can be aware of specific
Again my italics
Now this man could go far, with dissembling skills of this magnitude there must be a place for him in more rarified political halls than Bathampton Parish Council.
When he refused to ‘have a view’.
Because he’s not Bathampton’s MP, that job falls to Dan Norris, Labour member of parliament for North Wansdyke.
Though if you stray over the border at Candy’s Bridge then it is our Don you want – who can smarm the loose change off a Big Issue seller without saying one thing that counts – I ask you – culture, media and sport – who threw that lot into one bag as if to say, “ we don’t care give it to Don“
Contact Dan ‘Dare’ Norris
Dan Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
You can email email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can telephone (01761) 320023
You can text 07930 55 66 97
Contact Don Foster
31 James Street West Bath, BA1 2BT
tel: 01225 338 973
fax: 01225 463 630
Contact Bathampton Parish Council
Clerk to Bathampton Parish Council
Dr DP Smith
215 Bloomfield Road, Bath BA2 2AY
Telephone: 01225 332497
“Since she was built in 1936 Tipton has worked the waterways and we have had the pleasure over the last twenty years of maintaining that tradition. Carrying fibre optic cable first drew us to the Kennet and Avon followed by a stint short hauling wet cement for weir works.
Now we have settled into the role of roving coal and diesel supplier to boats and canalside premises, concentrating our run between Great Bedwyn and Bath.
Being typical boaters we are unable to be constrained to a schedule but find ourselves, sometimes to our own surprise, reaching each end about four times annually.
Text us for info on our whereabouts or listen our for our holler. ‘coal and diesel!’.
I have also been improving my signwriting skills and I am confident enough to take on any combination offering affordable rates. Obviously this is a weather dependent occupation requiring a suitable towpath work site.”
Tipton is currently expected;
- Bath: 17th October
- Devizes: End of October
- Bedwyn: mid November
- Then back to Bath in December
To catch them or get more up to date information, send them a text on 07779 185375.
They are currently experiencing difficulty getting to Hungerford and beyond due to the dilapidated state of the Kennet and Avon at this point due to BW’s refusal to carry out any maintenance. Give them a ring if you are in this area to see if anything can be done to help (with coal not the dredging – ring British Waterways for that).
Coal in 25kg bags
- Newflame £9.50 per bag, £90 for 10 bags
- Maxibrite £9.50 per bag, £90 for 10 bags
- Anthracite £9.00 per bag, £87 for 10 bags available in large or small nuts
- House coal £8.70 per bag, £84 for 10 bags
All prices subject to fluctuation, check with them for the latest prices.
- 73p per litre, before duty.
Most of you will be aware of the current situation regarding self-declaration of use, where your use is divided into diesel used for propulsion and diesel used for heating and power generation – the price above is for 0% propulsion, ie a boat that doesn’t move – cue all the continuous cruising jokes.
As an example, 10% propulsion, 90% domestic would cost 78.5p per litre. A self-declaration form is required at the time of filling. If you need more information about the current fuel tax regime then leave a comment and we’ll do an article.
Andy does pretty fine signwriting, he is going to do a bit of a write up with some examples shortly. In the meantime, get in touch if you need some signwriting doing. Check out his web site http://www.theartfulsignwriter.com/
Here’s a couple of well researched and meticulously written responses to the two levels of patrol notice and letter affectionately known as CC1 and CC2. These should give you some ideas and the resources to write your own letters of reponse and complaint.
Remember, if you get a letter requiring you to respond in 28 days you must respond to deny BW automatic right to take your license away. We don’t believe that this constitutes legal notice as required by Section 17 (4) of the 1995 British Waterways Act but British Waterways (bless) do. So responding to these notices is vital to prevent them taking this step as they have taken with Ian.
Letter 1 – an example response to a BW Patrol Notice
Letter 2 – a more lengthy response, including some legal points, with suggestions of people and bodies to copy in.
and an attendent complaint;
Complaint – A suggestion for an accompanying complaint to John Ward, acting manager of the SouthWest region, which includes the Kennet and Avon. This would invoke stage 1 of the British Waterways complaint process.