Our busy freedom of information bees have turned up yet more evidence that the local mooring strategy is inspired by a vicious combination of prejudice against liveaboard boaters and BW’s desire to extract the maximum profit wherever it can. We have obtained the full minutes of the meeting on 10 June 2009 between BW managers Simon Salem, John Ward and Paul Griffin; Bathampton and Claverton Parish Councillors, and B&NES Councillor for Bathavon North Ian Dewey – who just happens to live in Bathampton. These minutes show the full extent of the prejudice against us and the ignorance of the law affecting boats without moorings, and the way BW is content to let this fester and use it to pressurise boaters, rather than defending its customers and using its statutory powers fully and consistently.
Two months after that meeting, in August 2009, Sally Ash said in an email to a Bathampton Parish Councillor that she saw short and long term solutions for “moorings in your area” and that “the long term one is the development of the strategy which we see as critical to underpinning our future management of the canal” and that “we are working on terms of reference, securing the resources and establishing a project structure” (see our previous article “Bathampton, the plot thickens” http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/?p=159 ).
A month later, in September 2009, BW’s plans became public knowledge because of Freedom of Information requests by our boatie researchers. Guess what: the project didn’t go ahead and the proposed consultation suddenly became two consultations, the second one being about the development of local mooring strategies, which we believe BW had been planning to set up without any consultation at all, as they had already appointed a project officer, Damian Kemp. But instead of just going ahead and removing all liveaboards from Bathampton and making it the sanitised environment some of its wealthier residents seem to wish for, BW had to make out that Sally Ash’s idea for local mooring strategies was going to be applied in other places apart from the western K&A.
In August 2010, the BW responded to proposals on revenue generation by BWAF (British Waterways Advisory Foundation – a kind of voluntary waterways think tank set up by BW which includes a lot of hire boat representatives). BWAF’s proposed “Continuous Cruisers to pay more”, and BW replied “The new approach to local mooring strategies is the beginning of this process (our italics). It is a top priority to develop this and the involvement of user groups including those represented on BWAF is vital”. So, now we know what it’s really about – as if we couldn’t guess!
Here are those minutes: Bathampton Councillors meeting with BW 10 June 2009