Despite verbal and written submissions to the Council meeting from liveaboard boaters, BaNES Council cabinet voted on on 16th January 2020 to close Mead Lane moorings on the River Avon and to carry out a structural survey of the river bank. The Council has ordered boaters to leave the moorings within 21 days of the decision, even though the Avon is in flood and has been on red boards since 10th January, with CRT advising boaters that it is not safe to navigate.
If you are moored at Mead Lane, DO NOT MOVE unless it is safe. You can check for any updates on river conditions by phoning CRT on 0303 040 4040 or email
See also https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices
BaNES made the decision to close the moorings despite the consultation report recommending in Section 5.2 “retaining the 14 day and 48 hour Mooring (as now) or having more 14 days / fewer 48 hour moorings” based on scoring each option according to how well it met criteria identified by consideration of the common issues in the consultation process and of the duties and responsibilities of BaNES Council (see Sections 4.1 to 4.6).
However the consultation report also included a caveat in Section 5.1 that “the safety of the bank itself could be vital in the assessment of any of the potential uses as well as the ongoing use of the road. Therefore, an up-to-date, independent engineering assessment of the condition of the bank (above and below waterline) would be a practical step” and that “it is suggested that these assessments will need to be put into place prior to action being undertaken on the recommendations of this report, or that a “subject to” decision be made”. Bank stabilisation works were carried out by the Council in 2005 to protect a sewage pipe. Councillors present at the cabinet meeting stated their concern that mooring had damaged the stabilised bank, and blamed the previous Conservative administration for allowing mooring without any consultation with house residents or provision of boaters’ facilities. It is not clear what the now Liberal Democrat-run Council will do, if anything, to establish alternative safe 14-day moorings on the river although several Councillors expressed concern for liveaboard boaters and proposed to investigate what could be done, particularly to support boater families with children at school.
It far from clear at present whether the Council will return the river bank at Mead Lane to use for mooring after the survey has been completed, or how enforcement against boaters who do moor there in future or who cannot leave the moorings because the river is in flood, will be carried out. We will publish any further information as soon as possible.
Some house dwellers in Mead Lane had conducted a long campaign against boaters mooring on the river bank in front of their houses, with at least one resident being warned by police not to harass boaters, following multiple incidents of harassment of boaters by residents, such as repeatedly taking photographs and boat numbers. They were supported by Saltford Parish Council and Saltford Environment Group, the latter arguing that the river bank at Mead Lane should become a nature reserve and should be designated “as a flood defence asset that protects important infrastructure requiring care and maintenance”.
You can watch a webcast of the Council meeting here
Here are the consultation report and appendices, BaNES Council report, Equality Impact Assessment and decision report: