To many of us in the NBTA, it has become increasingly clear that the issues that we face as boaters are far from unique. The more we see of the problems facing people living on land, be they council tenants, private tenants or owner-occupiers, the more we realise how much we have in common.
Because of the common threats we face, we have become affiliated to the Radical Housing Network. This group brings together a wide range of groups campaigning to protect the right to be housed, as well as people exploring the possibilities of co-operative housing development and other alternative models.
We have seen the same issues time and time again, and these are issues that affect boaters too. The rapid development of luxury waterside apartments across London is accompanied by the creation of permanent moorings that reduce the space for continuous cruisers, who are forced to move further afield. This mirrors the regeneration happening on land, resulting in 45,000 families being moved out of their borough in the past five years.
We believe that our position is stronger if we can call upon the solidarity of all those groups engaged in similar campaigns to defend their rights and their homes. In the coming weeks and months, we will be posting articles here exploring the background to the challenges we all face, whether living on the land or on the water.
In the London borough of Islington, there have been more restrictions to boaters pushed by the Council. It has been argued by Sukky Choongh-Campbell, the Air Quality Officer at Islington Council that the trial period for Islington visitor moorings should be ‘extended to all parts of the canal in Islington’. It was also argued that the trial period, which took place earlier this year, should be introduced permanently.
Continue reading What’s that bad smell coming from Islington?
The Canal and River Trust have recently made a further move towards enclosure of the London waterways, by attempting to define “place” with the use of boundaries and labels on maps. Intended only as “guidance” for continuous cruisers who may be unsure of how far they need to move every 14 days in order to be using their boats bona fide for navigation. Many new boaters may agree that this is a useful tool to help them stay on the right side of CaRT, but the more seasoned continuous cruiser may argue the necessity. Within a short while of living on the cut and moving around in our floating coffins, one gets a clear sense of locality. An ethereal definition of “place” emerges naturally as the sum of our individual experiences.
Continue reading Privatisation with a Needy Smile: a CaRT History
Boaters may have received two letters from CRT recently, posted direct to their boats. One, dated 8 August 2014, states “The canals and rivers in London have seen a 36% rise in boat numbers over the last five years to 2,964 boats in March 2014. In the past year alone, overall numbers have increased by 14%, while numbers of continuous cruisers in East London has [sic] increased by 85%.”
Continue reading The 14 Day Rule
For a number of reasons, the legal rights meeting planned for tonight is severely oversubscribed. We have been overwhelmed by the response and if everyone who has booked turns up, it will simply not be possible for everybody to get in.
However, we are doing everything we can to make sure that we get the information to as many people as possible. We are planning a second meeting for the new year, in a much bigger venue. Also, we are going to broadcast the meeting on Ustream for anybody who cannot make it. This will also be available online after the meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 7pm. To watch the live broadcast, go to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nbtalondon