The Floater May 2017

Birmingham's Roundhouse gets lottery grant

May 2017 - One of Birmingham’s most neglected historic canalside buildings is set to be brought back to life with a £2.5m National Lottery grant, reports Peter Underwood

The cash will enable an unusual partnership of the Canal & River Trust and National Trust to revitalise the Grade II* listed Roundhouse into a city base 'from which to explore Birmingham’s famous canals by foot, bike or boat,' as the press release puts it.

Now Police investigate theft of Planet

May 2017 - Canal & River Trust is being investigated by Gloucestershire Police for theft of the Mersey Bar light vessel 'Planet', reports Allan Richards

This follows C&RT's announcement that it had sold the vessel for £12,500, a fraction its true value ( Lightship 'Planet' sold for just £12,500 ).

Lightship 'Planet' sold for just £12,500

May 2017 - A corporate spasm of spite, that would be described as a fit of pique in an individual, has resulted in an historic lightship being sold for one eighth of its minimum value, with no guarantee it won't go for scrap, as Allan Richards reports.

Alan Robert's historic Mersey Bar light vessel, 'Planet', which was seized by Canal & River Trust last year, and, for reasons never explained, towed from Liverpool to Sharpness, has been sold for just £12,500.

More of what C&RT wants you to know

May 2017 - Every now and then we like to keep readers of The Floater up to date with the items being offered to the media by the Canal & River Trust's public relations staff across the country and Peter Underwood has a round up.

George goes back to Liverpool

The Leeds & Liverpool short boat George spent the early 20th century carrying coal from the mines of Wigan and Leigh to Liverpool and she is about to grace the city's docks again.

Independent? Really?

May 2017 - Allan Richards has had to use Freedom of Information requests to see minutes of a Waterways Ombudsman Committee Meeting back in December, which, he reports, show just how hard C&RT tries to maintain the pretence that this committee is independent.

The minutes, which were which were recorded by C&RT Assistant Company Secretary, Yetunde Salami, show three 'Independent' members present and one C&RT representative, Gill Eastwood. However, one of the so called 'independent' members, Janet Hogben, just happens to be a C&RT Trustee.

Driving Licence renewal may drive liveaboards round the bend

May 2017 - One of the most frustrating things about making your home on a boat is dealing with the demands of government and Peter Underwood's own experiences with the DVLA confirms life isn't getting simpler.

Driving licences are now all photo identity cards that have to be renewed every 10 years and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) reckons there are millions of out of date licences out there.

Have your say on winter stoppages

May 2017 - You have just about a month to have your say if the Canal & River Trust's planned winter stoppages will affect you travelling around the system, reports Peter Underwood.

The Canal & River Trust has published its draft winter maintenance programme for 2017-18 and is asking boaters to take a look and give their feedback on the plans – but you only have until June 16 to have your say.

Win or lose in High Court - C&RT has problems

May 2017 - It is now certain that C&RT's Head of Boating, Mike Grimes, will not appear at a four-day hearing in the High Court starting on Thursday, May 18, reports Allan Richards.

Mr Grimes left C&RT's employ at Easter. In February, The Floater questioned if he would be willing to attend court to back up his witness statement in the case of Ravenscroft vs C&RT ( Did C&RT's Head of Boating fall or was he pushed? ).

Boat count shows slow growth in numbers

May 2017 - As total boat numbers creep up by just 2.4 per cent and the percentage of continuous cruisers recovers to the 2015 level Peter Underwood looks at the patterns shown by the Canal & River Trust's annual boat count.

The number of boats on C&RT waterways has risen from 29,958 in 2016 to 30,677 in 2017 although there are another 3,446 in marinas and other waters that don't require a licence, bringing the total number of boats to 34,123.

Is C&RT finally listening on Safety Standards?

May 2017 - The Canal & River Trust has claimed it did not receive a report of a lock that did not meet minimum safety standards, made by Floater Journalist Allan Richards, who explains what happened.

A report was made about the faulty lock using C&RT's own online reporting mechanism with a 'screen shot' taken of both the report and the acknowledgement screen. However, this report was seemingly ignored; with the Trust later saying that the report had never been received.

Boaters beware - more fines planned

May 2017 - Boaters tempted to take a chance on an empty mooring should beware – the Canal & River Trust is planning to fine you. Peter Underwood reports.

Some boaters paying mooring fees to the Canal & River Trust have received a letter telling them of plans for a £75 a day fine if they overstay after terminating their mooring agreement.

It will also apply to a boater who moors on C&RT long term moorings, even though there may be an empty spot.

Boat families urged to contact C&RT

May 2017 - How the Canal & River Trust should treat liveaboard families with children at school has been the subject of much debate – in the courts and with MPs, as well as boaters. Peter Underwood reports on the latest moves.

The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) is advising all families continuously cruising with school age children to contact C&RT to negotiate a reduced cruising range in term time if this is what they need.

NBTA Chair, Pamela Smith says it is something boaters should do, 'Despite the limitations to what C&RT is offering.'

Not all volunteers are equal in C&RT eyes

May 2017 - Peter Underwood looks at the attempts to stifle and ignore one of the newest and most successful restoration groups in England.

Across the country the Canal & River Trust is desperately recruiting volunteers - so the way in which it has discouraged and excluded the most enthusiastic and effective people working on the restoration of the Lancaster Canal's Northern Reaches takes some explaining.

Plastic day boats arrive in London

May 2017 - The first self drive day boats have arrived in central London, perhaps the busiest canal in the country – Peter Underwood has been looking at how the city's canals will cope.

The first four boats arrived in Paddington Basin on Tuesday on a lorry from Scandinavia, and C&RT has arranged for them to use a visitor mooring pontoon on the side opposite the hospital. Additional visitor space has been created beneath the hospital on the other side of the basin to compensate.

Will C&RT ever have100,000 Friends?

May 2017 - Why do so few people want to be fee-paying 'friends' of the Canal & River Trust. Allan Richards looks at the continuing failure of the Trust to reach its target for 'friends'

Just two weeks before C&RT's fifth financial year end, one of its longest serving trustees, John Dodwell, confirmed that it still embraces its long-term target of 100,000 Friends – in effect regular donors - over ten years. ​

Canals work better with courtesy

May 2017 - Debate about boating etiquette varies around the system. In London many are happy if boaters manage to close lock gates and drop paddles but elsewhere there is a sort of annual build up of irritation – especially by those who feel we are losing the common courtesies that made the system function, as Peter Underwood reports.

Fishing Match brings 15 miles of anglers to top boating canal

May 2017 - Peter Underwood looks at plans to stage one of the countries biggest fishing matches at the height of the holiday boating season on one of Britain's most popular canals.

Hundreds of the nation’s top anglers are set to descend on the Shropshire Union Canal in the middle of August for the Division One National Championship – 500 of them in fact, spread over 15 miles of the middle of the canal near Market Drayton.

And there will be lots of anglers lining the banks in the lead up to the event as the teams are allowed to stage practice matches before the main event.

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