Moorings together with any moored vessel would intrude between five and six metres into the navigable waters of the river
A local resident has failed in a High Court fight to block plans for visitor moorings on the River Brent which he claimed will jeopardise government plans to promote use of the waterways for transport of freight and waste.
Nigel Moore had hoped to persuade judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams to quash a planning inspector's decision to grant planning permission for a leisure and visitor moorings at River Brent Moorings, Ferry Quay, Brentford, on the north bank of the River Brent where it meets the Thames.
Mr Moore, a member of the Brentford Community Council, was supported by ward ex-Councillor John Hardy, as well as others opposed to the proposal.
He claimed that the inspector failed to impose sufficient safeguards to prevent encroachment into navigational channels in what is a key junction between the Thames and the West London canal network.
He argued that government policies promote the increased use of Britain's waterways for transporting freight and waste, in order to alleviate pressure on the country's roads.
He claimed that the development of these moorings will only be safe if the current low levels of freight using this waterway are maintained, and that, as a result, the development would inhibit promotion of waterborne freight along the River Brent.
However, now the judge has rejected Mr Moore's challenge.
Backing the inspector's decision, he ruled: "It is true that increased use of the river by freight traffic was supported by national policy.
"However, there was no evidence before the inspector so far as I can discern from which she could sensibly predict whether and, just as importantly, when any increase in freight traffic on this river would increase by more than a negligible amount.
"Further, the expert evidence adduced before the inspector to deal with the issues of risk assessment did not advance the proposition that the proposed development was objectionable in principle.
"The expert evidence proceeded on the basis that if the proposed development was granted permission and if there was an increase in the use of the river unconnected with the development greater precautionary measures to regulate the traffic on the river would or at least may become necessary.
"There was no suggestion in the expert evidence adduced before the inspector that the proposed development together with an increase in the use of the rivers by freight traffic was, inevitably, objectionable."
He continued: "In these circumstances the Inspector was fully entitled to conclude, as she did, that the potential future use of the river by freight vessels was not a compelling reason which justified the refusal of the permission.
"It is also to be observed that the inspector concluded that the proposed development was not merely unobjectionable in principle but also provided positive benefits; further it accorded with local policy relating to recreational development.
"None of these findings are or could be criticised and, accordingly, such positive benefits had to be weighed against any negative effects of the development.
"In my judgment, the inspector's conclusion that the potential future use of the river by freight vessels was not a compelling reason for refusal was well within the discretion afforded to her in light of the positive benefits of the proposed development which she identified."
The development which has now won the judge's backing will see leisure moorings along 180 metres of the river, with a further 22 metres set aside for visitor moorings.
The judge said that the moorings together with any moored vessel would intrude between five and six metres into the navigable waters of the river.
July 15, 2010