Bid To Moor Houseboats At Strand On The Green Opposed
Locals and a sailing club want river residences rejected
Local residents and a sailing club at Strand on the Green have objected to a bid for permission to moor two houseboats at Steam Packet Steps (opposite Cafe Rouge).
Strand on the Green Association (SoGA) has objected to the application on several grounds, including visual impact on a Conservation area, the potential for navigational hazards, damage to ecology, and noise, pollution and rubbish. They also say it may lead to 'houseboat creep' in the area.
Strand on the Green Sailing Club, which has been in operation over 70 years, is also opposed. The Club says having houseboats moored there could cause safety problems. The moorings would significantly intrude into the navigable water of river, and create a hazard for dinghy and other sailing activities.
The Club says houseboats moorings would effectively be a privatisation of the river and of of no benefit to the public.
The application to Hounslow Council has been made for two residential vessels, or houseboats and is for the "formation of residential boat mooring including driving 2 piles, installing timber grid, pontoon, access ramp and gate and mains services." The applicants say this is not connected with a recent proposal for a 'Chiswick Beach' facility for 25 houseboats and a leisure facility. in 2016 permission was turned down for a bid to have one houseboat moored at that spot.
The applicants claim that river frontage at Strand on the Green was used for mooring boats and barges from the 18th century until the mid-20th century. In particular it was used by vessels associated with the Pier House Laundry, built in 1905, and the Steam Packet Public House (now Café Rouge). They claim that the limited extent of the moorings means they would have minimal impact on river views, whether into or out of the Conservation Area, or along, across or from the river. Their location away from the sitting areas and their elevation in relation to the land means that the moored boats would only be prominent at high water, they say.
This claim is challenged by the Strand on the Green Sailing Club who say: "Contrary to the claims of the applicant, there are no precedents for residential mooring downstream of Kew Bridge: the boats photographed up to the 1940s were all working boats using various wharfs along Strand on the Green for commercial purposes.
There are no other houseboats in this area although there are communities of houseboats in Brentford, past Kew Bridge.
A proposal known as Chiswick Beach for 25 houseboat moorings and leisure facilities extending downstream from the drawdock at Kew Bridge, which included the application site, was made in March 2017 and withdrawn early in 2018.
You can read the SoGA objections in full here:
1. Visual impact on a Conservation Area: The installation of a permanent new mooring for 2 residential vessels together with associated infrastructure will have both a visual impact on the upriver view from Strand on the Green footpath and houses thereon taking into account the bend of the river and a physical impact on pedestrians walking the Strand on the Green footpath which forms part of the Thames National Trail. At high tide the unrestricted view of those listed properties on the north side of Strand on the Green will be impaired by the height of the proposed vessels. No control can be imposed upon the future maintenance and height of a residential vessel and there is serious concern about the long term condition of such a vessel.
2. Houseboat creep:
By giving permission to this number of vessels a precedent will be set
for further applications which would have a very serious effect on the
nature of the foreshore where river conservancy is of prime importance.
4. Obstruction leisure amenities: The installation of a new permanent mooring will be damaging to the leisure activities of the SotG sailing club which regularly races along the river to Kew Bridge and where the tidal currents can dictate a course of navigation close to the river wall also to the sports activities based at Kew Bridge which include kayaking and paddle boarding and where novices under training could potentially be injured by the structure of the decking its vessels and mooring ropes. There would be denial of access for other leisure activities at Ball’s Wharf including the fishermen who regularly fish and compete along that reach of the SotG foreshore.
5. The Foreshore: The development at the proposed location will effect and disrupt the established ecology.
6. Land based services: The land above the proposed permanent mooring is designated metropolitan open land and nature conservation area in the LBH unitary development plan and the presence of so many residential vessels will require the installation of major land based fixed services including sewage disposal – gas -electrical and fresh water supply - household rubbish disposal all of which will require facilities to be installed on the public land adjacent to the proposed mooring and tapping into already old and overused sewer system along Strand on the Green
7. Noise & light pollution: The presence of residential vessels will require the use of generators combined with residential heating which will result in noise light and air pollution. There is additional concern about noise from parties and music.
8. Parking: Parking is now restricted along Strand on the Green Thames Road and adjacent side streets. The presence of a permanent residential mooring will inevitably lead to further increased traffic and congestion from the vessels’ residents their visitors and deliveries. SoGA would ensure that residential parking and visitor permits would not be made available to houseboat residents or staff in accordance with current Lbh planning conditions applied to new land based developments.
9. Detritus: Floating river rubbish inevitably gets caught by any obstruction in the river and the presence of a fixed mooring will lead to a buildup of unsightly and potentially toxic waste between the vessel and the river wall.
10. Strand on the
Green Conservation Area Appraisal Consultation Draft May 2018: Open Spaces
and Trees: Para.8.1 – “The only designated Local Open Space in the conservation
area is ……. (and) the undesignated tree-shaded green at the western end
of the Strand is a popular seasonal workers’ lunch destination”
11. Objections: SoGA has registered a great number of objections from residents to the current application and refers you back to the previous application made to the Pla in 2016 for moorings at Steam Packet Steps.
SoGA recommends this application be REFUSED.
May 23, 2018