Following a legal challenge by a boater to the decision by BaNES Council to close the moorings at Mead Lane, Saltford, on the River Avon between November and March, boaters can now moor at Mead Lane for 14 days all year round. The river bank there is owned by BaNES.
Winter mooring was banned by the Council due to so-called “safety concerns” regarding winter floods, even though Mead Lane is one of the safer places to be when the river is in flood. The Council had commissioned a consultation and an engineer’s survey, which both said that Mead Lane is the best mooring on the river of its kind, recommending that it should stay open all year for 14-day mooring. The Council irrationally went against these recommendations and voted to close the Mead Lane moorings in winter with immediate effect and to close the moorings completely in 2022 once a replacement 14-day mooring site had been found.
No representatives of BaNES Council met with any boaters at any stage of the decision, yet all relevant Council representatives visited Mead Lane to meet with the residents of the houses.
Community Law Partnership, acting for the boater, filed a claim for Judicial Review which demanded that the Council rethink its decision. The Council has reversed its decision. It is likely the Council was advised that none of its arguments would have succeeded in court. As the result of the legal challenge, BaNES Council will now consult again with all parties before it decides whether to remove 14 day mooring at Mead Lane.
BaNES Councillor Dave Wood said “Allowing the winter mooring to go ahead and deferring a decision would help us consider the issue with a much broader view around a mooring strategy as well as our work with the West of England Combined Authority regarding a plan for the River Avon, as well as discussions with the Canal & River Trust.”
It is important to note that none of the decisions were based around any reports of anti-social behaviour, as these were unfounded.
Residents of Mead Lane have been told not to approach boaters or take pictures of us or police us in any way. It is an offence for them to document our behaviour. If any resident does anything that makes you feel that you don’t have as much right to be there as them, please report it as harassment to the police. The residents of the houses have been very proactive in their campaign against the liveaboard boating community . Let’s show the council and police a more balanced view of what is actually happening there. The police can be contacted on 101 or ring 999 if a crime is taking place.