The Trust looked at four sites that are popular with visitors and locals, and can get busy: Victoria Park, Broadway Market, Little Venice and Kensal Green. In recent months the Trust has also looked at visitor moorings at Islington and in Paddington Basin.
- In Victoria Park, half the moorings at the site will remain at 14 days while half will change to 7 days, following feedback from boaters who felt reducing the whole length to 7 days was not necessary in the area. With excellent tube connections at Mile End, the seven day stretch will benefit visiting boats who want a base to explore London.
- In Broadway Market the Trust will create a new 7-day mooring site of approximately three berths. The area has become a popular tourist destination, with a thriving bar and restaurant scene as well as the Saturday market, and is within easy reach of Shoreditch and the City.
- In Little Venice the eastern half of the visitor moorings (those closest to the Trust's Little Venice office) will be 7 days while the western half will be 14 days. Little Venice is a beautiful spot and is a fantastic gateway to central London.
- The Trust had also proposed reducing the stay times of two visitor mooring berths at Kensal Green, but the view from the Better Relationship Group and boaters was that the site wasn't enough of a visitor hotspot to justify the changes. Following this advice, the whole stretch will remain a 14-day visitor mooring.
The Trust will be updating the signage at all the sites, including details of the stay times, a clear description of the location and the post-code and grid reference in case of emergencies. We are also investigating the options for rolling out the Volunteer Caretaker Boater scheme and providing a reserved berth at each visitor mooring to help manage the sites and provide information and advice to boaters.
Sorwar Ahmed, London boater liaison manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “Anyone who's been boating in London recently will have experienced first-hand just how much busier it's become. While space at visitor moorings and on the towpath is often available, boaters tell us that they have difficulty finding space to moor, and some people avoid the capital completely because of the congestion. While we'll never be able to solve all these problems – the waterways are, after all, a finite space – I hope these changes will make it easier for more boaters to moor up at some of our most popular spots. I'm grateful to the help and advice we've received from the Better Relationship Group and other boaters whose feedback has shaped the plans.”
The plans were developed with the Better Relationships Group, which was set up with boating groups to help improve communications and engage boaters, in particular, in developing local policy. Once the plans were drafted, the Trust emailed a survey to boaters in London asking for views, and hosted a number of pop-up towpath meetings to discuss the proposed changes. The feedback has been incorporated into the final plans. More information on the consultation can be found here