We have been party to four pieces of information that suggest very strongly that CRT will not go ahead with its ‘places’ maps that it first proposed in August 2014.
In a meeting in February to discuss the review of visitor moorings between Bath and Foxhangers, the Local Waterway Partnership Chair Tamsin Phipps told a boater that “we’re not using the neighbourhoods any more”.
At the twice-yearly meeting between boaters, Pewsey are residents and CRT, Boater Liaison Manager Matthew Symonds stated on 13th May that CRT was not going ahead with the maps of places because of the feedback that had been received from boaters. He suggested that this feedback was publicly available on an internet forum though we have not been able to locate this forum. However he also stated that boaters were not in agreement about the maps. This may have meant that there were a lot of contradictory responses regarding the boundaries of places. CRT should have known better: boundaries between places are one of the most contentious issues in history and have caused a great deal of conflict. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. These maps contained many anomalies, errors and absurdities such as the relatively short Nottingham canal having a place boundary every half mile or so while the adjacent River Trent had place boundaries at five or six mile intervals.
We would hope that CRT has also learned from the trial of ‘neighbourhoods’ on the K&A in which many boaters challenged CRT’s boat sightings that recorded them as being in a specific neighbourhood when they had moved to a different place or CRT made errors recording which neighbourhood they were sighted in. The problem was highlighted by former K&A Manager Mark Stephens who told boaters last December that the kilometre lengths did not match up with the neighbourhood boundaries and this was causing a problem for enforcement.
Finally, a boater recently received the following statement in response to a complaint:
“You ask for an explanation of the kilometre length codes. These were created in 2003 when we moved to our new corporate database (SAP). This involved measuring every waterway and dividing into kilometre lengths and subsequently all assets and facilities were then listed to their associated kilometre length. We then record our sightings of boats on the relevant km length of the canal. With respect to the Kennet & Avon Canal, the first kilometre length commences at the start of the waterway at Reading i.e. KA-001 and they are not associated with any particular ‘place’. Although a lot of work was undertaken to divide the Waterways nationally into ‘places’, this process was never concluded. The only section you refer to which has any associated names is that between KA-088 to KA-120 which was divided into ‘neighbourhoods’. This was the K&A Plan area and these were defined and agreed by the Kennet & Avon Partnership.