Further to our letter to Claverton and Monkton Combe Parish Councils
posted here; http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/?p=210 we have received the following reply from the Clerk to Claverton Parish Council;
As the meeting was not a Claverton Parish Council Meeting I was not personally involved but please be assured there will be no evasion to your question from the Claverton Parish Councillors.
It may (or may not) help your investigations if I give you a brief summary of my personal experience of the situation on the canal. I am not fortunate enough to live within any of the parishes which flank the canal so this is purely a personal opinion and does not in any way represent the views of the Claverton Parish Council.
In the Summer I received a request from B&NES Council to contact a resident on the canal (who did not want to give his name) and I had a long conversation with this gentleman regarding the condition of the canal especially during the Summer months. He described it as a “linear rubbish dump” as black bags and other recepticals holding household waste were lined up along the tow path. He also commented on “overnighters” using the canal (and Warleigh Weir) as a toilet which is obviously not a good state of affairs as many children paddle in the weir. He witnessed residents collecting discarded rubbish on almost a daily
The conversation was quite lengthy and, as someone who had taken my children to play at the weir many years ago, I decided to pay a visit to see the state of that part of the canal. It was a rainy day and my husband and I trudged along the tow path and counted 6 black sacks but no other evidence as quoted.
I am sure that, during high days and holidays, the situation must be exacerbated and I am also confident that none of the interested parties would make ‘allegations’ – if these things have been witnessed then they are fact; why would people make untrue comments?
As I say, these are my personal observations and I hope they may help but, please rest assured, you will receive an official response to your enquiry within seven days.
We have replied;
Thank you for your detailed reply and I indeed know the black bags you mean. I do not know who dumped them, I am quite prepared to believe it was a boater and I now feel an bit of guilt that I wasn’t community minded enough to take them to the bins at Dundas. The boaters I know do have a high degree of respect for the environment and it is our belief that the boating community has ‘cleaned up its act’ in the last couple of years regarding rubbish on the towpath and the outward appearance of the boats. Certainly we are resolved to apply as much peer pressure as we can to keep that up.
And the situation at Warleigh Weir exasperates us all residents and boaters alike. Especially as the recent vandalism to boats, including arson, and thefts can be attributed to youth using Warleigh Weir.
To your point about why these allegations would be made if they were untrue then I must say that is our strong impression that there are those who resent the presence of liveaboard boats on the canal and that scurrilous complaints are being made. Unfortunately, supported by evidence or not, these complaints are influencing British Waterways policy.
I still consider the allegations made to be very serious, especially as one of them was retailed by Sally Ash at the Devizes meeting. But I am putting my complaint on hold for the moment as some of us are meeting with David and Keith to work through some issues. I have hope that we can enable a more reasonable dialogue between the boating community and Claverton, Bathampton and Monkton Combe. We will review the situation after this meeting.
We note that we have received no reply from Monkton Combe or Bathampton. If it is necessary to invoke the local government complaints procedure then this will probably form part of the substance of our complaint.