Residents rock the boat over canal mooring rules

The Grand Union Canal in Berkhamsted
The Grand Union Canal in Berkhamsted

A row has broken out between residents of Berkhamsted over proposed restrictions to boat moorings along the canal.

A consultation is currently taking place which proposes to restrict boats to two days’ mooring in the town.

But boaters are challenging the plan, drawn up by the Canal and Rivers Trust, because they think it does not reflect the feeling of the town.

The Berkhamsted Citizens Association, which received complaints last summer, supports the plans.

Sam Elgar, 39, from Lincolnshire, works in the town and loves to visit Berkhamsted on her narrow boat to spend time with friends.

But she thinks the plans are a ‘misrepresentation’ of how the town feels.

She said: “I consider Berkhamsted home and I’m one of the people who is being pushed out.

“They (the trust) need to look at the bigger picture and not be blinded by the propaganda of what has been expressed by the association.

“We need to work together on this.”

However, the citizens association thinks the boaters have caused too much disruption in the town.

It received several complaints last summer from residents that boaters were ‘having parties’ and ‘smashing fence panels’.

Its vice-chairman, Gordon Bluck, said: “Certain boaters were not playing the game.

“There were no restrictions before and there was anti-social behaviour.

“They were causing a bit of a nuisance and caused a great deal of fuss.

“Berkhamsted is not precious, but it is a town on the Grand Union Canal.

“I’m aware that the boaters are unhappy but there are elements of the boating community that are not respectful to what is a nice environment.

“If the boaters win the day, so be it – we are not a single pressure group. We are just representing the community.”

Go to www.canalriver to find out more about the proposed changes which involve restricting summer moorings in Berkhamsted to two days. The consultation period ends on February 29 so have your say by then.