Association in London
Meeting with NBTA and CRT re: London Mooring Strategy
On Thursday 26 May 2016, representatives of NBTAL (Marcus Trower, Helen Brice and Dave Mendes da Costa) met with Sorwar Ahmed (SA) and Matthew Symonds (MS) from CRT to discuss the London Mooring Strategy. The meeting was at CRT’s Little Venice offices in London.
The meeting was open and had a positive tone with both sides wanting to work together on certain issues.
Representation on working groups
We said that we were happy to be in discussion with CRT and that future meetings like this would be useful. Being the largest boating organisation in London, we expressed our belief that we should be part of the Working Group which is meeting on a monthly basis to discuss ideas. MS said that as this was an internal working group a decision had been taken to only include members of the London Waterways Partnership and CRT staff, so that each boating organisation would be able to remain independent and comment on the proposals that emerge from the London mooring strategy. MS was clear that no other boating groups would be on the working group, but that there will be opportunities for boating organisations (including NBTAL) to comment formally and informally on proposals as they emerge.
We asked whether minutes or notes would be taken from the meetings. MS said that notes would be taken but that they would not be circulated. MS said that summaries of the notes would be made and circulated at a later date. We said we would rather be able to see what was being discussed.
MS suggested that we should be involved with the boaters and other users working group (a widened version of the Better Relations Group) which would be more informal. MS said that CRT has quarterly meetings with other boating groups. We said we would like to meet like this too. MS and SA said that they hoped to arrange the first of these meetings would take place the first or second week of July, tba.
Facilities and mooring rings
There was a lengthy discussion about facilities, setting out clearly that there is a present need and action here should be a priority. We said that we are happy to do work on this and pass our findings onto CRT but that we would need information to help with this. SA agreed to provide us with a map of facilities in London and a map of the towpath containing information on condition and whether it is concrete or grass.
We also asked for what the main criteria are for assessing if a site is suitable for mooring rings or other facilities. We wanted to use this information to ensure that our suggestions were more likely to be suitable. Some examples were offered by CRT however MS made the caveat that each site could have its complexities and that it would be difficult to share all the relevant information with us as some of that information may not exist or certain limiting factors might not become apparent until further investigations are carried out.
SA explained that one consideration was how the local authorities would react, in particular around mooring rings. CRT has identified officer and elected stakeholders in the relevant London boroughs to be contacted during the strategy, some of which they have worked closely with in the past but there are others who the Trust do not yet have a close contact/ relationship with. We offered to assist with setting up CRT with local councillors.
Third parties were also seen as a way to getting facilities. These can include existing businesses (e.g., Black Horse pub at Greenford putting a bin in their car park, following a request by CRT and paid for by them) and developers of new sites. Development sites were seen as a good opportunity for facilities such as taps and elsan which require plumbing. SA said that CRT regularly with councils around getting some of the Community Infrastructure Levy from developers and that CRT would look to maintain existing moorings and facilities at development sites. We raised the example of the Greystar development in Greenford as something for them to look into and generally said that we expected them to take a robust line with developers around moorings and facilities.