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River Avon: Call for extra mooring site after boats damaged

image captionA section of the River Avon near Bath between Weston Lock and Bath Bottom Lock was accidently drained when a faulty sluice gate "suddenly opened"

A houseboat owner is calling for more mooring sites after about 50 boats in Bath were left submerged and damaged by a sudden drop in water levels.

Avril McGovern said fewer boats would have been affected if nearby moorings in Saltford had been available.

Bath and North East Somerset Council removed the moorings at Mead Lane in January over safety concerns.

Ms McGovern said this left the site in Twerton hit by the water level drop as the only moorings available.

Boats were left under water when water levels on the River Avon suddenly dropped 1.8m (5.9ft) on 15 September following a software fault at a sluice gate.

image captionAvril McGovern said her boat was resting at the bottom of the canal after the water level dropped

"Mead Lane is the only other 14-day mooring," said Ms McGovern, who lives on her boat at Twerton.

"I'm 100% convinced fewer boats would've been affected if it had been available. We need that site [Mead Lane]. There's nowhere else for us to go."

Moorings at Mead Lane were removed so the council could assess the condition of the riverbank.

Ms McGovern claimed council cabinet members had ignored scientific evidence and removed them to "appease the wealthy residents" of Mead Lane.

image captionThe sudden drop in water levels caught many boat owners off-guard

Ward councillor Duncan Hounsell said in January that the moorings at Mead Lane had been a "failed experiment" that was put in place without services for boaters or controls on how long they stayed.

Council leader Dine Romero said this week: "In January we took the decision to temporarily close the Mead Lane moorings because we needed to make sure it was safe and suitable.

"We haven't reopened the moorings but we're complying with government guidance that action shouldn't be taken to move any boat on during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Cabinet members will consider the results of a structural survey when they meet on 8 October.

Ms McGovern said she hopes they take the incident at Twerton into account when they make their decision.

Related Topics

  • UK canals
  • Bath
  • Bath and North East Somerset Council

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