The first meeting of the Local Mooring Strategy steering group for the western Kennet and Avon took place on 26 August in County Hall, Trowbridge. As you will see from the documents below which BW circulated before the meeting, most of the changes that BW want to make, that will have a big impact on our lives, will not be up for discussion in the local mooring strategy.
Archive for August, 2010
The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and British Waterways are asking local people and organisations to nominate interested individuals to become volunteer board members on the new Waterway Partnership Board. The deadline is very soon. It’s really important that as many boaters as possible volunteer to be on the board of the partnership so that we are properly represented. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 27 August 2010 to nominate yourself.
A boater has been asked to represent unaffiliated boaters (ie those not represented by NABO or RBOA) on the Local Mooring Strategy Inquiry Panel. In February BW agreed to include them on the panel, then later went back on its commitment, but following pressure from NABO and RBOA as well as from other boaters, BW has now included one unaffiliated boater. The first meeting is on 26 August at County Hall, Trowbridge, at 10am.
From correspondence below, obtained via Freedom of Information from Bath and NE Somerset Council, it looks like BW and BANES are paying jointly for an extra boat checker. This appears to be instigated partly by Councillor Ian Dewey of Bathampton, who has been a key mover in efforts to move liveaboard boaters off the canal.
The “concerns” expressed take no account of the fact that the Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers is not a legal requirement and clearly states that it does not have the force of law. Unlike the 14-day rule in Section 17 of the British Waterways Act, BW does not have the legal power to enforce it. In one of the emails, David Lawrence, BANES Deputy Director for Heritage Services, says he does not think there is a problem. It is not clear whether this extra staff appointment is going ahead permanently, as the original contract seems to have been for this summer. However, we do wonder whether this is a good use of a cash-strapped Local Authority’s money, as responsibility for enforcement on the canal lies with BW.
The information in these emails seems to imply that BW is bypassing whatever the local mooring strategy would decide – this has gone ahead before the local mooring strategy inquiry panel has even started meeting.
Following our incomplete story, BW and the K and A Trust: After the apology, the answers! (July 2010 posts), we have received the emails between Mark Stephens, K&A Manager, and the Trust, requested using Freedom of Information. These emails include the draft minutes of the User Group meeting on 29 April. They also show Mark talking about the boaters’ towpath tidy, saying how pleased he is that people are volunteering without being asked, but also saying that some control is needed. Mark, if you’re reading this, one of the people organising the clean-up tried many times to talk to you on the phone to ask permission to do this, with no joy. So we went ahead and tidied the towpath anyway.
The emails also show that the main focus of the Trust’s partnership with BW is the use of volunteers to carry out maintenance of the canal. A good reason to get involved methinks. It doesn’t look like the Trust will be involved with enforcement, but we still don’t know what the partnership agreement actually says. At the last request for it, we were told it hadn’t yet been drawn up.
No, not ‘Five Go Mad In Dorset’, but we have received the following communication…
It’s official: Bath Narrow Boats in collusion with BWB!
BWB seized Indian Pete’s lovely boat Ayuppa. He was taking it to the river to be removed on the river slipway as BWB had requested. He left it overnight before the Deep Lock. Next morning it had gone. There was no notification from BWB what had had happened. He found it moored in Bath Narrow Boats. When he asked for it back an employee (who claimed to own the company) said that BWB had seized the boat. The employee threatened to ‘punch his lights out and call the police if he didn’t leave the premises’.
Later that night Indian Pete recovered his boat without touching Narrow Boats property in any way. Again there was no notification on the boat from BWB.
On Monday 16 Aug a community patrol officer was snooping around Ayuppa and later a BWB canoeist was spotted followed by BWB patrol officers taking numbers. So now they’ve stolen it back.
Pete has now informed a solicitor so watch this space and…….
Naughty Bath Narrow Boats! We don’t need them but they need us!