BaNES agrees to meet liveaboards and launches survey of boaters’ needs

BaNES Council has agreed to meet boat dwellers without home moorings to discuss the need for boaters to be directly represented on the Committees tasked with making decisions about the joint BaNES – CRT mooring strategy covering the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal to Limpley Stoke.

Yesterday the Council also launched a boat dwellers’ survey which runs to 4th July 2016. The survey attempts to gather information about why boaters moor where they do and what needs they have, such as for facilities. The survey is online here http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/river-and-canal/boater-survey-2016 and you can download a pdf file of it here bnes_questionnaire_surveymonkey_final. Paper copies are available through the Travelling Community Support Service at Julian House, tel 01225 354650 or 07960 097719.

Unfortunately the multiple-choice survey questionnaire misses some vital tick-box options that would assist BaNES to find out vital information, such as “adequate depth of water under the boat” and “ability to get the boat close enough to the bank” that would help them to investigate this issue. The questionnaire clearly has not been designed with any input from liveaboards and there is no space to include your own comments. It includes a question about whether you would move off your boat into “tiny homes” on land if these were available. The slant of the survey is towards ‘encouraging’ boaters to take moorings or move off their boats, rather than defending our right to live on the waterways without a home mooring.

In addition, the draft mooring strategy alleges that some boaters are non-compliant but makes no mention of the fact that CRT’s 2015 enforcement policy against boaters without a home mooring is punitive and unlawful.

Here is the correspondence with Cleo Newcombe-Jones, BaNES River Co-ordinator:

4th April 2016

Good Afternoon,

Many thanks for your email correspondence [many boaters wrote to BaNES to object to proposals to restrict mooring at Mead Lane, Saltford], which I hope to respond to.

B&NES Council is currently working on a partnership project (together with the Canal and River Trust, the Environment Agency and Wessex Water) – the Water Space Study – which will look at options for regeneration, development and environmental enhancements along the River Avon between Bath and Keynsham and along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Deep Lock to Limpley Stoke. The Water Space Study will look at all aspects impacting on the river and canal, including how land is managed, boat moorings, river navigation by boats, leisure and recreation opportunities and environmental gains. For information on the Water Space Study, visit our webpage here

http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/river-safety/rivers-canals/water-space-study

As part of this project, we will be looking at options for the future management of mooring at Mead Lane Saltford. However, it is important to emphasise that no decision has been made as yet – we will be looking at the possible options, and will discuss these with partners such as the Canal & River Trust, local stakeholders such as yourselves, Saltford Parish Council and Local Ward Councillors etc., as part of this process. Opportunities for public engagement are now being planned for May – June 2016, this will include focus group discussions and public events – further details will be posted on our webpage: www.bathnes.gov.uk/riverandcanal

If you would like, I can add you to our River Avon newsletter so that you will get the latest information/project updates and events relating to the River Avon in Bath & North East Somerset. The first newsletter can be found on our webpage

The Council has committed funding to look at introducing a Traffic Regulation Order to manage parking at Mead Lane Saltford, and we are seeking to implement this at present. Again, all proposals will be subject to public consultation before they are finalised and implemented. A commencement date for this project has not yet been set, but we are working with the B&NES Council Highways Department to deliver this project as part of their programme of works during this financial year.

I hope this re-assures you that no decision has been made in relation to future mooring at this location. Furthermore, we are keen to discuss the possible management options for moorings with you going forward as part of the Water Space Study project.

Kind regards,

Cleo

12th May 2016

Dear Ms Newcombe-Jones

We write regarding your email in response to the complaints made by boat dwellers without home moorings about proposals to restrict mooring at Mead Lane, Saltford.

We find your response extremely worrying in that you have revealed that key decisions about the use of riverside land for the lawful mooring of boats for 14 days; restrictions on moorings, and property developments that inevitably put at risk the ability to moor to the river bank, are being made without any consideration of the needs and rights of boat dwellers without permanent moorings and in our absence.

We, the undersigned, are not satisfied that the “opportunities for public engagement” that you have mentioned below, that are taking place solely within a community event the Bristol to Bath Festival of Nature, will be adequate to protect the rights and homes of boat dwellers.

We require full representation on the Committee(s) and/or working group(s) tasked with making decisions about moorings on the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal between Bath and Limpley Stoke.

To this end we require to meet with you at the earliest opportunity. We would be grateful if you would provide us with details of your availability.

Thank you. We look forward to your reply.

The K&A Boaters Action Group

17th May 2016

Many thanks for your email.

Apologies, for not explaining more clearly. There are some related issues:

Decisions relating to Mead Lane and mooring, will certainly include public and stakeholder consultation, once a process has been agreed for this I can inform you more specifically of the opportunities to engage.

The Festival of Nature events are aimed the general public, and are an opportunity for local people to put forward their ideas for improvements to the River and Canal for inclusion in the Water Space Study – which might relate to moorings but also other issues.

There will also be more bespoke opportunities to engage in the Water Space Study – for example, we are due to launch a Boater questionnaire as part of this and we are attending a number of meetings with local stakeholder groups with a range of interests in the River and Canal.

We are also attending meetings with various interest groups e.g. canoe clubs etc

My colleague Patrick Moss has already arranged with Sam from Julian House to attend your next Kennet and Avon Boaters Action Group meeting on 13th June, this will be an opportunity to introduce the survey questionnaire for live aboard boaters and tell you more about the Water Space Study.

I would also be happy to meet up with you, what times/days would work best for you all?

Many thanks,

Cleo

See also

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/crt-and-banes-plan-mooring-strategy-for-entire-river-avon-and-beyond/

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/%ef%bb%bfact-now-to-stop-mooring-restrictions-at-mead-lane-saltford/

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/banes-council-may-become-a-navigation-authority/

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/%ef%bb%bfbanes-council-report-condemns-crt-failure-to-meet-equalities-obligations/

http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/liveaboard-boaters-make-statement-to-banes-council/

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