“Make boating in London a great experience and improve our waterways for the enjoyment of all.” That is the vision which CRT says drives their latest attempt to manage London’s waterways – the London Mooring Strategy (LMS). It sounds fantastic – who would be against boaters having a great experience and everyone enjoying “our” waterways? Except that when you look at much of the strategy – the water sport zones, the eco moorings, the introduction of 7 day, 2 day and 2 hour visitor moorings – it is clear that the price of this improvement is being laid at the feet of itinerant boaters and their access to casual towpath moorings.
Another part of this price is CRT’s drive to buy into the “destination” fever which marks the gentrification of London’s post-industrial landscape with the continued introduction or increase of business and trip boat moorings at the expense of casual moorings. Paddington, Kings Cross, East India Dock and the Olympic Park are all locations where CRT is intent on encouraging new or further business mooring opportunities, their aim being increasing both income and the number of visitors. Given that CRT implies in the strategy that they buy into the London is full (or nearly full) myth, presumably these visitors will not be boaters and definitely not itinerant ones.
CRT says that up to 35 business moorings will be created as the result of the strategy. While most of these will be permanent moorings like the ones in Paddington, Kings Cross will see CRT’s latest idea in reducing the number of casual moorings – the pre-bookable “pop up” business mooring reserved for itinerant trade boats. Presumably these will not be available to boaters even when trade boaters are not in residence.
The 35 new business moorings figure CRT quotes may sound quite modest, but once they are gone it is unlikely they will be coming back to casual status any time soon (if at all). Every little bite the LMS takes from our ability to access casual moorings is a marginal gain in gentrifying the waterways of London; and a marginal loss for us if we fail to actively oppose it. CRT wants to turn the waterways into a “destination”; for us the waterways are where we live – they are not a destination.
Pictures below are of where the proposed “pop up” business moorings (Maiden Lane Bridge) are outlined in the LMS.
Pictures below are of where the proposed trip boat mooring (below St Pancras Lock) are outlined in the LMS.
Pictures below are of where the proposed some more business moorings at Paddington which are outlined in the LMS.