The K and A Local Waterway Partnership (LWP) is to hold the first meeting of its Moorings Sub-Group on 26th October, it was announced yesterday. The K and A User Group meeting was told on 24th October that the sub-group will aim to find a fair public process for the consultation on the local mooring strategy that can act as a national model, given that CRT is no longer bound by the Government code of practice on consultation. On 4th April 2012, BW had stated “We will be running a formal public consultation. Hopefully this will start at the end of May and will run until the end of September.”
The first meeting of the moorings sub-group will focus on getting the consultation process right so that it is acceptable, authoritative and transparent. The group will look at how to achieve consensus on resolving any conflicts over the use of mooring space, building on the work of the Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group (MSSG) that BW disbanded in November 2011. The LWP sub-group will review the K and A Mooring Plan of August 2012 drawn up by Sally Ash, CRT Head of Boating, which she claims is the outcome of the MSSG’s work. However, a number of former MSSG members have complained to CRT that the August 2012 Mooring Plan bears little relation to their proposals, because it includes items that were ruled out by MSSG, in particular the ‘community mooring’ or ‘roving mooring’ permits. See http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/k-and-a-mooring-strategy-consultation-plans-changed-despite-bw-statement/ for our analysis of the plan.
In the light of their experience, some former MSSG members fear that whatever the LWP sub-group decides, CRT will veto it if it is not in line with CRT’s plan to erode and restrict the right to use and live on a boat without a home mooring. CRT has made it clear that it aims to prevent boaters from exercising the right to use the waterways without having a home mooring: the August 2012 Mooring Plan talks about”stemming continued growth in demand for towpath space” by continuous cruisers.
K and A Manager Mark Stephens assured the User Group meeting that the minutes of the LWP would be published promptly on the K and A pages of CRT’s web site. A number of boaters had complained that these were still unavailable despite a promise last year to publish them.
The LWP has also held its first Waterway Strategy workshop on 12th October with the aim of drawing up a 10 year plan for how the K and A will work, looking at its economic and environmental situation; the communities that live, work and travel on or alongside it; the condition of the waterway and its historic structures, and where it is most or least used.