After a week moored on Pulteney Weir protestor Charlie Dancey moved his Dutch barge to start – what he calls – ‘phase two of my protest.’
Earlier today l found him run aground at Parade Gardens, where mooring is not officially allowed but it was where he had dropped anchor in case the barge comes off and drifts.
Charlie had announced – on his action group’s Facebook site – ‘I’m right next to outfall from Roman Baths, so have fed a bilge pump into the pipe that has been running excess hot water into the Avon for 1800 years and rigged it to the Northern Sun so that I can simply throw a switch and deliver about 3 tonnes per hour of hot spa water onto boat.
I just had a bath in it and it was amazing.’
However walking past the Weir this evening l found his Dutch barge back on the Pulteney Weir again and here is the picture to prove it.
Charlie is protesting about what he calls the ‘neglect’ of the Newark Works – home for so long to Stothert and Pitt – the Bath crane-makers. It’s a Grade 2 listed site he want to see used for the community.
B@NES has already said the site is an integral part of the development plans the Authority has for the western riverside.
Meanwhile Charlie is also reporting an incident slightly further down river when boats have been released from their mooring. The Virtual Museum shares his views with its readers and welcomes any response.
He says: ‘Five boats has their mooring lines released by an unknown person or persons early this morning at the new Stothert Court development next to Victoria Bridge in Bath.
The boaters aboard discovered they were drifting early this morning and rapid emergency action was taken to secure them and prevent them from drifting down to Weston Weir, where a disaster might have occured. One boater had to jump in and swim to a boat to rescue it, other boats became ensnared in trees on the river bank.
One of the boaters, Paul Bramley, posted details of the incident on his FaceBook page, and this report has been reposted on the South Quay Community Arts Project’s Facebook pages (facebook.com/groups/SQCAP).
“It was a miracle nobody was hurt and no serious damage occured.” said Paul Bramley on his Facebook page.
The new development at Stothert Court is by Crest Nicholson who are working with B&NES Council on the Western Riverside Development. At Victoria Bridge a wide pathway has been constructed as part of an open space leading down to the river from the new flats at Stothert Court with the intention of providing a pleasant open space with access to the river.
Mooring bollards have been placed along the water’s edge. On Friday an event took place there to celebrate the installation of some street art, which was attended by the Mayor, Don Foster MP and other parties involved with the development.
No signeage was in place to advise boaters of any restrictions on mooring at this location.
Two days ago officers from Crest Nicholson posted notices on the boats moored there to advise that mooring was not permitted.
So far no witnesses to the tampering with mooring lines have come forward, so the identity of the cuplrit or culprits is a matter of speculation at this time.
Some of the boaters involved were members of the South Quay Community Arts Project, which seeks to save Newark Works from destruction and open up the old quayside there to provide services to boats on the River Avon.
Charlie Dancey, or SQCAP said “This is what happens when planners attempt to create access to the river in their hamfisted style. The mooring area is unsigned, insecure and unmanaged, as are many sites alongside the river in Bath.
It’s time for some joined up thinking and proper debate about our river, before somebody gets killed in an incident like this. We (SQCAP) remain ready to enter into discussions with B&NES about proper open cooperation to bring the vision of a properly managed river and decent facilities for boats into reality.
The fact that somebody felt the need to commit such an act illustrates the fact that there is nobody in proper control of what is happening at Western Riverside. We strongly urge B&NES to participate in this debate, but so far they have refused to communicate with us.
SQCAP have reported the incident to the Canal and River Trust, and have requested clarification on the legal status of the moorings in question. The C&RT have authority over this stretch of water.’
Freelance Journalist, broadcaster, columnist and local historian. Director of Bath Newseum. Married and lives in Bath.
Interested in local history, architecture and visual display in museums and urban spaces.
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