Update October 2020
Cabinet met on the 8 October 2020 where the future of Mead Lane as a mooring site was discussed. Visit our democracy web pages to view the meeting and read the papers presented to Cabinet. The recommendations and decisions will be added to this web page shortly.
Read the press release and report that was presented to Cabinet on 8 October 2020 on the future of moorings at Mead Lane.
Current status of Mead Lane as a mooring site
Following a river incident at Twerton which affected many members of the boating community, we will extend our emergency COVID duties which places additional housing and homelessness duties on us. These duties require us to not to do anything that could impact upon an individual’s housing provision, therefore, action will not be taken to move boats on during the COVID-19 pandemic or until the future provision of mooring is implemented following the outcomes of the October Cabinet meeting. At the meeting on 8 October 2020, Cllr Crossley advised the boating community that the council will not take action to move boats on from the Mead Lane moorings during the remainder of October 2020.
Riverbank Stability survey
A survey was undertaken on Thursday 3 September 2020 by engineering consultants Atkins. The results of the stability survey, alongside other evidence was presented to Cabinet on 8 October.
Read the findings of the Mead Lane riverbank stability survey.
Cabinet decision and information January 2020
Following B&NES Cabinet meeting on 16 January 2020 the council took the decision to temporarily close Mead Lane mooring whilst a structural survey was undertaken to consider the suitability of this land for moorings following concerns raised by the local community relating to the extensive repairs/construction of the Mead Lane highway and river bank during 2005. This work has now taken place and the outcomes of the findings presented to Cabinet.
Cabinet papers considered on 16 January 2020 Item 15. Mead Lane, Saltford moorings:
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.
Reasons for the decision
The council undertook works to stabilise the river bank adjacent to Mead lane around 2004/5. It appears that the stabilisation works resulted in the site becoming more attractive for residential moorings. Over the subsequent years complaints from the local community about unregulated moorings increased and the council agreed to introduced a mooring trial (2016/17), with the aim of addressing these concerns. The trial resulted in the provision of a mixture of 14 day and 48 hour residential moorings (there are more 14 days moorings). Mooring posts and an information board were installed. Revenue resources were not identified to coordinate the monitoring of the moorings, including overstays. Where appropriate, complaints have been investigated on a case by case basis by individual services at the council. There is a strong feeling in the community that the council should have allocated resources to enhance monitoring/compliance checks and for any follow up action. The council did explore with the Canal & Rivers Trust if they could manage these moorings but at the time this wasn’t supported due to lack of capacity and no commitment from the council to allocate resources.
Alternative options considered
There are two options available to Cabinet at this time – to either make a decision without the benefit of an up to date survey or put in place an interim arrangement until the results of an up to date structural survey of the riverbank are known. As this is such a specialist area of work it may take several months before the survey is completed and the report received. River conditions need to be suitable for the undertaking of a survey. During this interim period Cabinet could make a decision to remove all mooring facilities, leave the existing mooring arrangements in place, or reduce the number of moorings – retaining the 14 day facility.
Consideration should be given to a number of matters including safety and suitability of the riverbank, the needs of boaters to access suitable moorings and the risks of legal challenge and associated costs. There is no evidence that the residential moorings are having/not having an impact upon the structural stability of the bank at this time.
The Cabinet could decide to make a final decision on the future of the moorings/land at Mead Lane. However, this would be without benefit of an up to date structural survey. This information is considered necessary before any decision can be taken.
Last updated: December 2020