Spelthorne Council is consulting from 1 August until 30 September on new powers to prevent unauthorised mooring. The proposal is to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for Moorings along the River Thames in Spelthorne.
A report to Cabinet in July 2019 (link below) identified the unreasonable and persistent nature of some mooring, without consent, which is having a detrimental effect on people living in the locality. Elmbridge and Runnymede Borough Councils are also consulting on a similar plan with a view to making a consistent Order for the River Thames in all three boroughs.
Cllr Richard Barratt, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Compliance, said: "With increased enforcement in Kingston and Richmond displacing boats into Surrey, the problem has grown, resulting in an increase in the number of complaints received in all three Surrey boroughs. Further displacement is anticipated in future years, as mooring areas and marinas within London are developed, which is why we need to act. The Thames is a great asset to us and we are determined to protect and enhance it for the benefit of residents of Spelthorne."
Mooring enforcement in Spelthorne is carried out by the Joint Enforcement Team (JET) in Neighbourhood Services. The team has reported an increase in boats overstaying at moorings provided at its parks and open spaces, in particular those at Lady Lynsey's Lawn, Kings Lawn and Shepperton Lock. They have also noticed an increase in boats mooring in non-designated sites particularly along Thameside, Laleham and Flowerpot Green Sunbury. Both these sites are owned and managed by the Council.
In 2018, the team completed 58 periods of mooring enforcement and issued a total of 54 overstaying warning letters. In addition, they dealt with two boats at Staines Bridge by way of a Community Protection Warning Letter and subsequently a Community Protection Notice (CPN) due to anti-social behaviour comprising of fly-tipping, littering and using a chemical toilet in full view of the passing public. One of the boats moved after the warning letter, the second upon the issue of the CPN.
The team has also issued notices to six boats under the Refuse Amenity Act 1978 to abandoned or suspected abandoned vessels on Council run sites and this culminated in one vessel being removed and disposed of at expense to the Council. Other than moorings, the team receive weekly complaints from residents, park users and the Council Grounds Maintenance teams about the amount of rubbish being left at the mooring sites.
Cllr Vivienne Leighton, Chairman of the River Thames Task Group, said: "Engaging with local riverside authorities is a key aspect of the Task Group's remit which this proposal delivers. We will work in partnership with Elmbridge and Runnymede on this joint initiative to protect mooring sites. Each of the three Boroughs, while different in scale, has been facing an increase in anti-social behaviour associated with unauthorised moorings and this needs to be addressed for our residents."
The consultation can be completed until 30 September 2019. A copy of the Report and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Council's website.
Report to Cabinet in July 2019: Item 2618