Agenda item

Unauthorised moorings: Stakeholder feedback

Decision:

Resolved that

 

(a)      the results of the stakeholder consultation be noted; and

 

(b)      it be noted that officers would be working with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Member Task & Finish Group and neighbouring Boroughs, Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and the Environment Agency, to consider a consistent way forward, and that a report in this regard would be presented to Cabinet in due course with any recommendations.

Minutes:

(Link to Council Priorities: Character and Environment; Quality Services; Community Wellbeing)

 

The Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture introduced the report and reminded Members that in June 2019, the Cabinet had considered a report that detailed the current issues of mooring without consent in the Borough.  At that meeting, the Cabinet agreed that stakeholders be consulted in order to progress a long-term solution to this issue.

 

The Cabinet was advised that Elmbridge was not responsible for managing the majority of the River Thames and very few of the current moorings were on Elmbridge land.  However, the Council was aware of the concerns of its residents and in this regard was taking the lead in working with other agencies to find a solution.

 

The Portfolio Holder reported that some of the direct action that the Council had recently taken included:

 

·         enforcement had begun at the start of September 2019 at the Elmbridge owned sites of Cigarette Island, Albany Reach and Ditton Reach;

 

·         Planning Enforcement Notices had been serviced on a number of moorings located at the end of Cherry Orchard Gardens and adjacent to the tow path;

 

·         officers had served Community Protection Notices on vessels obstructing the normal use of the Walton Rowing Club; and

 

·         all vessels that were currently moored at the Hurst Park 24 hours moorings were overstaying and were therefore subject to enforcement action by the Environment Agency.

 

The Portfolio Holder further reported that during June and July 2019, a stakeholder consultation had been carried out to seek a view on which of the following solutions they believed would be proportionate and appropriate to manage the mooring without consent issues:

 

·         Public Space Protection Order;

·         Byelaw;

·         Managed mooring; or

·         Do nothing.

 

Members noted that there had been a wide range of opinions made as part of the consultation and among those who wished to see greater enforcement, there had been no clear preferred solution, other than concluding that ‘do nothing’ was not an option to take forward.

 

Given the mix of views as to the most effective means of managing moorings moving forward, the Portfolio Holder advised that what was crucial was that the various agencies (Environment Agency; Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne Borough Councils; and Surrey County Council) continued to work together to find a common means of managing the issue that did not displace boats from one area to another.

 

In this regard, it was proposed that officers work with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Member Task & Finish Group and neighbouring authorities to consider a consistent way forward, with a further report being presented to Cabinet in due course with any recommendations identified.  It was noted that in the meantime, the Council would continue to manage those areas it had direct control over and work with other agencies / use existing powers in other locations.

 

Resolved that

 

(a)      the results of the stakeholder consultation be noted; and

 

(b)      it be noted that officers would be working with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Member Task & Finish Group and neighbouring Boroughs, Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and the Environment Agency, to consider a consistent way forward, and that a report in this regard would be presented to Cabinet in due course with any recommendations.

Supporting documents: