Carolyn (CJ) Green watches the goings-on from her tiller.
As you already know, CRT doesn’t possess a magic money pot, so improving crumbling towpaths is not high on its list of priorities. Instead, they look to outside agencies (councils etc.) for assistance. When Sustrans decided to upgrade sections of towpath, CRT must have thought “Whoopee”, I mean what can possibly go wrong? Make the towpaths more accessible, then surely everyone wins?
The problem is that while CRT and Sustrans have put up notices informing us of towpath closures, no-one is being told exactly how the paths will be improved. We do not know what the surface will be, whether grass verges will be retained or lost. We don’t even know if ‘wild moorings’ will still be possible. There’s no mention of the potential environmental impact.
NABO’s regular meeting with CRT
On 7th February 2022, Mike Rodd and Anne Husar had their regular meeting with CRT’s Matthew Symonds and Rachel Howard and, on this occasion, Sean McGinley, who covered the situation regarding the Ferrybridge fish deaths and suspension of freight movement.
Concerns over facility closures: the facility block at Sutton Cheney has expensive problems with fly tipping, costing nearly £100,000 to service this site. CRT is proposing to relocate the services to Market Bosworth. In Marple, the development of the site started sooner than expected and the facilities were closed at short notice. The regional team is working to put alternative provision in place. At Barbridge, the bridge has been damaged and bins can’t be serviced while it is being repaired. A review of facilities is currently taking place, which will result in an agreed standard and best use of the budget for service facilities (e.g. replacing buildings which are vulnerable to vandalism with more robust open-air facilities). NABO raised complaints by London boaters about the facilities (closed bin sites, broken Elsans, distance between facilities, rubbish not collected at Little Venice). CRT replied that it has issued an update to the London Mooring Strategy proposals, which includes details on more sites for additional facilities and it will consult on specific proposals for additional facilities at Steel Road. In response to a question about future sites allowing recycling, CRT replied that Biffa has some segregated waste at source, but it normally separates waste off-site.
CRT privacy issues
In December 2020, while the terms and conditions consultation was in progress, we reviewed the privacy documents and made a submission on our concerns. They were numerous, but three stood out: the first was readability; the second was that the documents were obviously written at different times, so they did not link up; and, thirdly, we did not agree with the legal consents. We felt that many of the matters were not compliant with the law. We heard nothing for six months, no request for clarification, no phone call, just the usual legal blanking that we have become used to from the CRT in-house legal department. They don’t do customer relations.
We did finally get a written response at the same time that the new terms and conditions were produced in May 2021. The privacy documents were also republished, like a rabbit out of the hat. Thankfully, many simple issues have been addressed, so we are making progress. Are we happy now? No, we are not. We have offered to help CRT, but they have not responded.
Howard Anguish reports on the situation.
There is growing concern being felt about incidents of fish mortality at Ferrybridge which seem to be caused by the passage of large barges as a direct result of the new gravel trade recently introduced into Leeds. This has led to the pausing of traffic while investigations are carried out, and the large numbers of fish mortalities has, in turn, led to expressions of concern from anglers about the future viability of the fishery in the area. It appears that there are particularly large numbers of fish in the Wash Dike area of the waterway which, it is suggested, may be attracted in large numbers by the occasional legal release of sewage into the waterway by Yorkshire Water.
This has been a bumper couple of months for CRT’s finances. By quietly auctioning off four more listed properties, including two in London, they have another £4m in the coffers to spend, who knows on what? I do hope it’s for more of those tacky blue and white signs.
I wonder how the sale of the Top Lock Cottage at Tardebigge got past CRT’s Heritage Impact Assessment. Presumably the fact that this was where Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman met on nb Cressy, leading to the formation of the IWA, had no ‘impact’ on their decision. You’d have thought the IWA might have objected to the sale for this reason alone. Never mind, there’s still a plaque there marking the spot.
And then there’s Bugeddin. Listed it might be but there are ways around that protection for anyone with the knowledge and money to persist. Who knows, it may end up looking like this wonderfully enhanced lock cottage we found on our travels. Better by water? Hunt the cottage…