Brentford Waterside To Help Reduce National Debt?

Proposed sale of British Waterways could affect Brentford dramatically

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Cllr Peter Thompson, Conservative Leader of Hounslow Council today said that the proposed the sell-off of British Waterways' property portfolio would be "a massive mistake which could seriously harm the regeneration of Brentford.”

The property portfolio is understood to be under consideration for inclusion in a massive sell-off of Government assets announced by Gordon Brown last week, which is intended to raise £16 billion by 2014 to help bring down the national debt.

“We all know that we are in mess thanks to the financial incompetence of this government.  All of us in the public sector are going to have to make do with less money. 

However it would be absolutely stupid and dreadful to privatise waterways.  Selling off the towpaths, store buildings, lock-keepers’ cottages and waterside properties that all form a part of the canal ­system to the highest bidder is a barmy idea.  If this sale went ahead how could British Waterways generate the necessary incomes to fund an ongoing programme of maintenance?   In the worst case scenario we could see a possible partial or permanent closure of some waterways and this would have an extremely detrimental impact on the operation of waterside businesses. It could stop us being able to use these crucial national resources. 

I want our waterways to be a catalyst for regeneration and economic growth in Brentford.  They are a national asset and they should remain as such. I can work with British Waterways.  Selling it all off to a property developer would be a massive mistake which could seriously harm the regeneration of Brentford”

British Waterways will resist any Treasury proposals to sell off £500 million worth of properties it owns alongside the nation's rivers and canals, chairman Tony Hales has indicated.

Asked about the proposed sell-off, Mr Hales said: "The nation owns that property and that property should be used for the benefit of the nation. This is not about a few select boaters - valuable and precious though they are to me. This is about the wider community."

There is a petition that can be signed for Number 10 We, the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to protect our canals by not selling off property owned by British waterways.

November 20, 2009

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