This Thursday evening (March 15th) Alton Parish Council is to hold a second meeting to discuss getting rid of all the temporary and permanent moorings outside the Barge Inn, Honey Street and at Gibson’s Boat Services (now Moonboats). In addition we understand that the Parish Council wants to prevent boats from mooring anywhere in the Parish. British Waterways and a Community Police Officer have been invited to attend the meeting, but no attempt has been made to consult local boaters. However a number of boaters plan to attend the meeting and would welcome other boaters joining them.
The Parish Council has made various allegations about boaters which we understand have not been backed up with any evidence, about boaters “bathroom habits”, fires, chainsaws, dog poo, rubbish and throwing things in the canal. The meeting will take place in the Coronation Hall on the main road between Honey Street and Alton Barnes. Boaters were unaware of this meeting until yesterday. In addition, at 4pm on the same day Mark Stephens, the K&A Manager, will walk the towpath with members of Alton Parish Council. We understand that several boaters plan to join in.
When Bathampton Parish Council made similar unfounded allegations about boaters in 2009 it later conceded that there was no evidence to support them. Such allegations are typical of the prejudice that boat dwellers are faced with.
We would remind Alton Parish Council that the temporary mooring of all boats and the permanent mooring of boats that are not used all-year-round for residential purposes do not require planning permission following the Planning Inspector’s decision in the Ladies Bridge case nearby in 2006. In addition we wish Alton Parish Council to know that boats without a permanent mooring are entitled by virtue of section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act to moor on the towpath for a continuous period in any one place of 14 days, or a longer period if this is reasonable in the circumstances, and that the Act does not prohibit boats from returning to the same place. Boats that do have permanent moorings elsewhere are not bound by the 14 day rule according to section 17 3 c i of the Act.
The contact details for Alton Parish Council are:
Charles Reiss, Alton Parish Clerk, Wharfside Cottage, Honey Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5PS. Tel 01672 851295 or 07803 853459 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read the Planning Inspector’s decision on the Ladies Bridge case here Ladies Bridge Planning Decision