Agenda item

Mead Lane Moorings

As landowners, the Council is responsible for a stretch of riverbank adjacent to Mead Lane, Saltford.  The Council introduced a 12-month mooring trial in November 2016 following discussions with the local community.  The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the trial; consider the feedback received from communities and partners and agree the next steps.


Councillor Duncan Hounsell in a statement [a copy of which is attached to the Minutes as an Appendix and on the Council's website] where he urged the Cabinet to: approve a full engineering survey of the river-bank at Mead Lane to be undertaken as soon as possible, begin a consultation on alternative sites for moorings and make use of the information provided by the boating community to Lemon Gazelle as to its needs and end moorings at Mead Lane so that vital infrastructure is kept safe, so that aquatic plants grow again, wild-life thrives, bio-diversity is promoted, and that this short stretch of river-bank becomes once again an open public space for all.


Councillor Paul Crossley introduced the report by saying that the Council had responsibility to maintain the riverbank.  Stabilisation works were undertaken in 2004/5 followed by mooring trial, which was set up in 2017 in response to complaints about unregulated residential moorings. An independent consultation and engagement exercise was undertaken in the Autumn of 2019 to understand the issues/concerns of various parties.  During the consultation period an engineering report was highlighted by the local community (produced around 2004/5), which included statements about the suitability of this section of the riverbank for moorings.

Councillor Crossley also said that the Cabinet would consider a range of matters including the views of the local community, live-aboard boaters, its’ duties and responsibilities under various pieces of legislation, the content of the engineering report and availability of suitable moorings along the river. The report recommended that no long-term decision should be taken on the moorings until an up to date structure survey is undertaken.


Councillor Paul Crossley moved the revised recommendations, with recommendation 2.3 to read as: ‘Remove moorings at Mead Lane with effect from 21 days after the date of this decision. Any Council enforcement action to be subject to compliance with statutory duties.’


Councillor Richard Samuel seconded the motion by agreeing with Councillor Crossley that it was a Council responsibility to maintain the riverbank.  Councillor Samuel also said that the Council has duty of care not just to the boating community but also to residents.  Councillor Samuel concluded his comments by saying that this site was not designed for moorings, and that the Council would need to find capital funds for immediate support on site, pending the outcome of the survey.


Councillor Tim Ball said that Mead Lane Moorings were not proper and sustainable moorings and for those reasons there was a need for action.  Nevertheless, Councillor Ball made a plea for adult and children services to work closely with the boating community and families that were on site.


Councillor Kevin Guy said that the riverbank has been significantly damaged.  Councillor Guy also said that he would be speaking to the boater families whose children go to school in B&NES about next steps.


Councillor Rob Appleyard said that his focus, as Cabinet Member for Adult Services, would be on the people side.  The boating community were part of the overall community and they must be involved in the consultation.


Councillor Paul Crossley added that it would be Council’s imperative to work closely with the residents and boaters on this matter and involve everyone in the consultation.  The Council must work with the families within boating community to support their needs.  


RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:


2.1 Request from officers to undertake a structural survey of the river bank at Mead Lane and as part of the survey consider the suitability of this land for future moorings. This request is subject to approval of the revenue budget provision by Cabinet/Council in February 2020.

2.2 Request that officers report back to Cabinet once the results of the structural survey are known, to enable Cabinet to make an informed decision on the long term use of this land

2.3 Remove moorings at Mead Lane with effect from 21 days after the date of this decision. Any Council enforcement action to be subject to compliance with statutory duties.

2.4 Request that officers undertake further analysis of residential mooring arrangements along the river, to include arrangements for boaters
and their families.

Supporting documents: