Council Gives Boaters 6 Weeks Notice

Hounslow Council proceeds against Watermans boat owners


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Legal letters have been issued this week to encourage a formal dialogue between Hounslow Council and the owners of "unlawfully moored" boats alongside Watermans Park, where the new marina is proposed.

Hounslow Council states that "the current moorings are unlawful with boat-owners paying no licence fees, which is unfair on both the nearby lawful boaters and the general public".

Nigel Moore of Brentford Community Council comments: "A fascinating and revealing press release. Quite why “legal letters” are required to “encourage a formal dialogue” when the relevant boaters have vainly sought meaningful dialogue for years, is a mystery.

"It could be wished that the vocabulary employed was far more precise and educated; it is entirely unclear as to what is meant by “The current moorings are unlawful with boat-owners paying no licence fees. Licence fees respecting what, to whom? No private boats are required to be licensed to make use of the tidal Thames.

"The only legitimate reference could be to some licence/permission from the moorings owner – in this case, the London Borough of Hounslow, inheritors of the Riverworks Licence from the PLA for the decayed moorings works. For the Council to legitimately impose chargeable consents for use of their ‘works’ here, they will have to apply for Secretary of State consent for an appropriate byelaw, such as those obtained recently by the London Borough of Richmond.

"The public should also be reminded that many of the boaters here have asked for regularisation of their position, only to be rebuffed on various specious grounds. It has been open to Hounslow to accept them as Council Tax payers for decades".

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Let’s be clear from the outset, these boats are moored unlawfully. Some of the people living on the boats are littering, getting rid of their waste directly into the river and are trespassing to get access to their boats, which is unfair on owners who pay their mooring fees and the general public.

“We’re offering our full support to everyone living on the boats and will advise on issues such as housing to those who may need it.

“Too many times in the past, Hounslow Council administrations have failed to tackle this problem and take forward plans to create a clean, safe, accessible marina. Now we have an exciting opportunity to regenerate the area and it’s high time the issue of unlawful moorings is resolved.

"There is support for this action from other river users. We’re doing the right thing."

Nigel responds "Cllr Curran invites us to be clear that these boats are “moored unlawfully”; it would be appropriate and helpful for him to clarify the precise law being breached.

“We’re doing the right thing”? Improvement of the facilities may very well be the right thing – I have always supported this, as I have supported the Council finally ending up earning from the facilities instead of just paying out for them - but there is a right way to go about it – and this advertised campaign of ‘benign’ eviction is very far from that".

October 23, 2015

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