The number of boaters who have received enforcement letters from CRT even though they have “complied” with the K&A Interim 12-month Local Plan continues to rise. We are aware of at least 25 boaters without home moorings who have travelled through most of the Local Plan area but have had letters alleging that they have not been seen in enough “neighbourhoods”.
One boater, who has had two of these inaccurate letters, told us that he requested his boat sightings from CRT. Since the beginning of August he has moored his boat in 21 different locations in 10 “neighbourhoods”. However, CRT has only seen his boat in 3 neighbourhoods. There were many more errors in the list of sightings, including recording his boat at “bridge 173 in the Bradford on Avon neighbourhood” when in fact the boat was moored several hundred metres west of bridge 173 (the boundary between two “neighbourhoods”) and well within the Avoncliff “neighbourhood”.
The boater also stated that Enforcement Officer Corrine Rotherham had informed him in advance that he would be getting a second letter alleging that his boat had not been sighted in enough neighbourhoods, but not to worry about it and the problem was that he is “moving too fast”.
In a bizarre turn of events, the owner of the Café Boat at Avoncliff, which has a permanent mooring, a CRT business licence and planning permission, received a letter saying that the Café has not been sighted in enough “neighbourhoods” to comply with the Local Plan. This is despite the fact that a boat with a home mooring is not required ever to leave its mooring.
Another trader has had similar problems. The Coalboat is constantly on the move delivering coal, diesel or gas almost every day to boats between the River Avon and Foxhangers. The owner loads up the boat with supplies once a fortnight at Bradford Wharf. He does not have a home mooring. Despite the fact that the boat moves every day, as is necessary to run a viable coal boat business, CRT has accused the trader of overstaying in Bradford on Avon because the boat checkers have only ever logged it when it is loading at the wharf. You couldn’t make it up!
The Local Plan isn’t working. The proliferation of unfounded allegations is making many law-abiding people furious. These inaccurate letters are causing immense stress and worry; some liveaboards fear that the enforcement process will be escalated in error meaning that CRT could seize their home. Many have spent considerable unnecessary time and effort challenging these errors and attempting to get their boat sighting records corrected by CRT. Worryingly, others have decided to ignore the letters because the situation is so obviously a complete shambles The Local Plan has generated enormous ill-will towards CRT. It is a massive public relations disaster.