NABO members have brought to our attention yet another loss of visitors mooring.
It is understood that CRT have given permission for a trip boat to use the visitor moorings at Upton on Severn to pick up and drop off passengers.
NABO is alarmed that one of the most popular visitor moorings on the Severn, giving access to Upton on Severn, will now not be available for significant amounts of time to both private and hire boaters. From our personal experience we know how high the demand is and there is no doubt that this restriction will have an immediate effect on the number of visitors to the town and, hence, to its economy.
We are also extremely annoyed that yet again access to a popular visitor morning is being changed without any prior consultation with those most affected. We are taking this matter up directly with CRT.
We have seen a resport belived to be from CRT
Thank you very much for sending me your comments about the visitor mooring at Upton upon Severn. I appreciate the time and effort you have spent in letting me know of your concerns and views.
Please forgive me for sending a ‘global’ response; I have heard from about 20 of you during the course of the day and, due to time constraints today and Thursday, I would not be able to get back to you all in a timely manner if I responded to you individually.
My response to the most commonly expressed views appear below; there are some issues you have raised that require further investigation and so I will send a further update on those matters in due course.
Principle of a ‘Visitor Mooring’ being used by a trip boat
There are many examples of visitor moorings being used by trip boats across the network. In some cases, this has our express consent, in others it has just developed over the years and is now accepted practice. Our current position on this is that a trip boat should have all of its pick up and drop off points agreed by us and so use of a visitor mooring is subject to our consent, rather than on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. In this case, the operators have obtained our consent.
A number of correspondents expressed the view that private licence holders have a ‘right’ as licence holders to use the visitor mooring. I cannot find anything in the General Terms and Conditions for Boat Licences that suggests that private licences confer greater rights than business licences. There are many places around the network where the mooring available is in high demand and is shared between many different types of user.
Some correspondents have expressed the view that visitor moorings are for ‘visitors’ and seem to feel that the owners of private boats are ‘visitors’ and that those using a trip boat are not. I think you are all visitors and that the pleasure of a boat trip and/or a visit to Upton should not be restricted to those who are lucky enough to own or hire their own boat. A love of boating is something we wish to develop and we feel that enabling people to enjoy a boat trip can be a first step on the ladder to becoming a life-long enthusiast. We really hope that you will help us to make the waterways available and accessible to as many people as possible.
The visitor mooring should be extended, not reduced and the operators of the Avon Belle should pay towards this
I was personally involved in extensive negotiations with the Town Council and other local stakeholders some years ago to extend the visitor moorings here. Despite extensive work, I am afraid that for a number of reasons, the scheme had to be abandoned. This was several years ago and it may be worth re-visiting the idea if there is sufficient local support to bring about a more positive result. I will be happy to try to dig out the initial work if a local group wishes to take the idea forward.
The operators of the Avon Belle are very happy to contribute financially for using the existing structure. They have never assumed that they can use the mooring without consent and have never assumed that they should use it for commercial purposes free of charge.
The trip boat will prevent other boats from mooring up in times of flood as a ‘safe haven’
This is not the case. The Avon Belle is not going to moor here overnight at all and it does not run passenger trips when the river is in flood.
This mooring is not at all suitable for use by coach parties because of the access ramp
I understand that the ramp is steep, but I’m not sure that it is not fit for purpose. I will ask colleagues who specialise in health and safety assessments to review this matter. We understand that coach parties can often contain significant numbers of older people and/or those with limited mobility and will bear this in mind when looking at the mooring. However, I must underline that the coaches pre-book with the operators of the Avon Belle who advise them of the constraints before they book. I agree that this is a legitimate concern and will report back to you all on this.
The trip boat will effectively close the mooring to private boats
This is not the case at all. The ‘designated’ space for the trip boat will only be used at the times specified on the board, which will vary from week to week and the mooring will never be used after 4pm on any day. The number of other boats you can get on the mooring depends, as always, on the length of the boats and whether they are happy/able to ‘breast up’ as is the case at any other visitor mooring. Some people have suggested that it would be helpful to publish the operating times in advance. This is not always possible as the Avon Belle runs charter trips, sometimes booked at short notice, as well as scheduled trips. However, I am sure that the operators will be happy to keep their website up to date so that boaters can check their website before setting off. I will speak with them about this.
This proposal will have a detrimental effect on local businesses as fewer private boaters will be able to visit the town
Coach parties bring many visitors to the town – usually around 53 of them at a time. Many coach operators build their offer around a combined boat trip with time to have lunch and shop in the town. We feel that encouraging additional coach parties in this way will benefit the local businesses.
Enforcement and debris
Some of you have reported a couple of boats that have been moored here for a considerable time and a build up of debris at the rear of the pontoon. I will speak to my colleagues in Enforcement and to the local supervisor to ask for these matters to be addressed.
Some of you feel that we should have consulted prior to running this trial. In this case, I felt that it would have been disproportionate to the nature of the proposal. I did put the proposal to the local Waterway Partnership and they endorsed the trial. I accept that we have underestimated the level of opposition to the proposal and that it would have been helpful to have published the plans more widely in advance. I also accept that further correspondence with the Town Council and Tourist Information Centre will be helpful. I will undertake this during the next week or so.
Some of you have also expressed your thanks for the fact that we provided you with information about the situation.
Use of the marina
Many of you have commented that the cost of using the marina is too high. Some of you have said that you are unhappy to use it as it is then a long walk round to the town and some of you have suggested that the Avon Belle could operate from the marina. I will look into this possibility further.
I understand that the signs we placed on the mooring were slippery and we have removed these. We will put alternative signs in place shortly. In the meantime, please look on the board attached to the ramp for times when the Avon Belle is picking up.
Please remember that this is just an interim response; I will get back to you all on the matters that require further investigation.
In the meantime I have a heartfelt plea to make to you: could you please all try to make the sharing of the mooring between boat owners and those who only enjoy the occasional chance to use the river work? Whilst I am not in any way dismissing the comments and concerns you have, it will be more helpful if we can actually run the trial and look at what actually happens rather than assuming it can’t possibly work without trying it.
Thank you once again for taking the time to get in touch. And thanks also to those of you who have expressed your support for the idea.