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the battle of the houseboats

The moorings on the Thames to the east of St Saviour's Dock are the subject of a recent example of local community campaigning and activity. Barges and similar boats have used the moorings here by Mill Stairs (at Reed Wharf) for more than 200 years. However, the growing numbers of houseboats moored at the site, noise etc. linked to the barge renovation, and some issues around services to, and the organization of the moorings became a focus for discontent among some local residents and business people. They used various means to rid the moorings picture: the houseboats at their new moorings 2007of the houseboats including seeking planning permission in 2004 for the stairs to be used as a point at which river ferries etc. could take on and put down passengers.

In response those living in the houseboats mounted a fascinating campaign using petitions, soliciting support from other local community groups, gaining celebrity endorsement e.g. Patrick Stewart, making very effective use of the local press and using the annual Britain in Bloom event to showcase their way of life and their campaign (some of the houseboat dwellers had spent some time creating garden space and enhancing the green potential of the boats). All this created a significant swell of support for their case and provided the right sort of environment for the planning hearing. This, effectively, ruled in their favour whilst making some requirements around the organization and servicing of the moorings.

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