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Council seeks views on moorings management

Boat owners could be fined for overstaying on moorings in March and Whittlesey under new proposals to tackle river users who ignore local bye-laws.

Mooring

Access to the Council's River Nene moorings is free of charge for 36 hours, but last year several boats overstayed the restrictions in March for a considerable length of time.

Local residents and March Town Council raised the issue with Fenland District Council, which owns the moorings, as it prevented other boaters from being able to access the busy moorings and was having a potentially negative impact on tourism for the town and local businesses.

Now Fenland District Council has launched a consultation on proposals to adopt a civil law approach to the way it manages its moorings and enforces the visitor mooring period.

The Council wishes to maintain the existing provision of a free 36 hour visitor mooring, but is proposing to follow it with a specified 'no-return' period for 48 hours.

River users overstaying the 36 hour limit will be logged and then fined for every 24 hours that they overstay, in a similar way that supermarkets manage car parks. This would be clearly signposted at the moorings and enforced by the Council.

The proposal comes after the Council investigated how other authorities with moorings manage the same issue of overstaying boats. It was clear that a bye-laws approach does not work, with authorities such as East Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council also adopting a civil law approach.

Cllr Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: "Unfortunately there were a number of boats which ignored the mooring bye-laws last year. This new approach is intended to balance the need for a regular turnover of boaters, whilst allowing an adequate length of stay for boaters to enjoy the facilities and visitor attractions that Fenland has to offer.

"We'd like to hear the views of river users regarding this approach and putting a more robust scheme in place to prevent the overstaying problem this spring and summer."

The consultation starts on Monday, January 22, and runs until Monday, February 26. If agreed, the new management scheme would come into force on April 1.

Anyone wishing to have their say can complete an online survey. Paper copies of the survey are also available at the Council's one-stop shop in March, community hub in Whittlesey and the March Town Council offices at the Town Hall, March.

Article added: January 19, 2018