. . .and met up with two Herbies for a curry and a couple of drinks. Nice to see you Simon and Carrie.
I can recommend the Watermans Arms in Brentford, a nice little pub which you can find if you walk along the high street in the direction of Kew Bridge.
Anyway, on to the main business of the day. I got an email from CRT with consultation documents regarding new visitor mooring policies in the Southern Region. Maybe you did too, but in case you didn't, let me summarise. Bear in mind I've only had a quick skim through, so I don't guarantee I've understood it all.
The idea is to give boaters a greater chance of getting in on visitor moorings at popular stopping places. They list a fair number of these on the Southern GU, the Oxford and the Leicester line as far as Foxton. The details are quite specific in each case, giving details of particular stretches between bridge numbers etc.
What they are proposing is that at the most popular spots, eg town centre moorings like Banbury or at Marsworth or Thrupp, they will restrict mooring to two days. This might not seem a lot, but they will also maintain seven or fourteen day moorings a short walk away. So at Banbury for example, the moorings opposite the Castle Quay shops would be two days, and then back by the park it would be fourteen days. The whole of Banbury would be designated as an "Area" and no boat would be able to stay in the area for more than fourteen days in any month.
The papers give details of the notices which would go up in any area, using Thrupp as an example. There would be signs with diagrams showing the exact positions of the two day and fourteen day moorings. Then the papers give example letters which would be given to boaters on the day they arrive, making clear the policy. Then a letter you would get on the last day of your permitted stay, then a letter you would get if you overstayed.
Volunteer mooring monitors would record which boats were there each day and deliver the appropriate letters. Overstayers would be charged £25 per day, billed to their licence account, payable within 28 days. I suppose if you didn't pay up after being chased up and all that might follow, you wouldn't get next year's licence until you had paid.
Now who will be made happy by this policy, and who will not?
I think people on the move will be happy. People like me, who are generally on a journey and rarely stay anywhere beyond a couple of days. If the policy works, we will have a better chance of finding a free spot at popular places.
Continuous cruisers who tend to stay somewhat longer will have to moor a bit further away, but not too far.
Continuous moorers, who make a habit of overstaying won't like it at all I suppose, but they don't abide by the rules now so it may make no difference. In reality though, this policy only seems to relate to a relatively small number of popular hot spots, so those who want to stay around semi permanently will no doubt need to move out of one of the designated areas.
The consultation papers invited detailed comments on each of the proposed hotspots, so it'll be interesting to see what people say.
What do I think? Well I think it's as fair a policy as I could think up. The devil may be in the detail. Of course it'll all depend on how well it is policed.
The document didn't cover London. Maybe they have a separate one I haven't seen. I can safely say that that one will be pretty contentious.