West Molesey houseboat

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The West Molesey houseboat is a residential barge moored on the River Thames, in West Molesey. It is referred to by local residents as the slumboat.[1]

The boat has been in the news several times as a result of legal troubles with the Environment Agency, and conflict with local residents, who call it the "slumboat".[2] As of March 2016, the boat has been moored illegally alongside Hurst Park for at least nine months.[1] The boat is moored at a free 24-hour mooring site, but stayed for longer than 24 hours - in early September 2015, the barge was given a "notice of trespass" by the Environment Agency, and given 14 days to leave.[3] It did not do so, and a result, in November 2015 the Environment Agency (EA) announced it would be imposing fines for overstays in free 24-hour mooring sites.[1] The EA also said that it would be beginning civil proceedings against the owner through the local County Court for trespass.[3][4]

According to local newspapers, neighbours in nearby Sadler's Ride referred to the boat as a "slumboat", and complained about a rise in human and canine excrement alongside the boat.[1] A local boater also complained that, as a result of the illegally moored barge, other boats cannot use the free 24-hour mooring spaces.[3]

The barge's owner, Alistair Trotman, told a local newspaper that he had purchased an EA river licence for 2015, and that the barge was "fully comprehensively insured through Euro marine, despite the fact that non powered barges are only required to have third party insurance”.[3]

The boat was in the news again in March 2016, still moored at Hurst Park.[2] The BBC secretly filmed the inside of the boat, and asked a Chartered Surveyor and Member of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection to spend a night on board and give his views on the vessel.[2] He described it as a "bonfire", and "timber with loads of holes waiting for a match".[2] He noted that the boat had no firestops at all.[2] The owner responded to the concerns by saying that the boat had been fitted with fire alarms, fire exits, CO2 alarms, fire blankets and fire extinguishers, that no smoking was permitted on the boat at all, and that the onboard coal stoves had concrete-and-steel surrounds. Cabin boy Scott Sterland quotes 'I have experienced 3 slammings since residing on the boat'. [2]

The owner had previously been ordered to pay compensation for two boats of £1,812.69 and costs for both £60, totalling £1,872.69.[5] The boats were named Hui and Old Kingston Coal, and were moored without valid licences at Kingston upon Thames and Teddington Reach.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Environment agency impose fines on boaters after "slumboat" sits on river illegally for six months". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Airbnb-listed Thames houseboat 'like bonfire waiting for a match'". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Boathouse moored illegally for so long it's now on Google Maps". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  4. ^ "A barge illegally moored on the Thames is still there despite the threat of a court summons". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  5. ^ a b "Five River Thames boaters fined £6,587". www.boatingbusiness.com. Retrieved 2016-03-24.