C&RT receptive to more London facilities

July 2017 - The minutes of a meeting about facilties for boaters in London, between a National Bargee Travellers delegation led by Marcus Trower and a group led by Matthew Symonds, C&RT's boating strategy and engagement manager have finally emerged three months later, as Peter Underwood reports.

Marcus Trower and the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) in London have long been arguing that the Trust needed to keep existing water points, elsan disposals and rubbish bins in better order and invest in more.

The NBTA argue that it is mainly east London and River Lee that warranted most attention according to a boaters survey they conducted.

Matthew Symonds, C&RT's boating strategy and engagement manager

Working from East to West they want to see a series on improvements, starting with Ponders End Lock arguing that where there is a water point connected, it makes sense to install bins, pumpout, Elsan, and even toilets.

According to the minutes C&RT seems to think the idea is feasible and is speaking with its contracts organisation about access as well as doing a search on available services and talking to existing staff who’ve worked in the area for 25 years

On the River Stort/Lee the NBTA suggested that at Rye House, bins were put on towpath side, as well as a pumpout, elsan and tap. C&RT were willing to ask contractors about moving the bins but only rubbish disposal was a real possibility at present

In the West NBTA lobbied for an Elsan at Coppermill but C&RT's Sam Thomas thought that the buildings had septic tanks and pointed out that Hillingdon Marina pumpout is open to the public.

At Bulls Bridge NBTA suggested a pumpout, Elsan and bins, with a water point at Springwell and bins at Denham

The minutes say C&RT didn’t disagree when any of NBTA London’s proposals, and seemed to think they were good ideas.

The Trust should have been doing service searches in the suggested areas to establish the practically of putting in new facilities.

However, C&RT did tell the NBTA delegates that a business case will need to be made for new facilities although Matthew Symonds said he anticipates that there will be funding to forthcoming.

The Trust was also receptive to a NBTA proposal that trained and insured boater trade persons get some of the work from C&RT.

NBTA says boater tradespeople will do a cheaper and better job than others, and C&RT said it was very happy to explore working with boaters to undertake smaller jobs.

Sorwar Ahmed suggested boater tradesmen could be in the future linked to an adoption for a “small” job. ‘Small’ jobs being less than £20,000.

Photos: (1st) NBTA has long been campaigning for more facilities in London, (2nd) Marcus Trower, NBTA vice chair and leader of the London delegation, (3rd) Matthew Symonds, C&RT's boating strategy and engagement manager.

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