Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Here's a thought..

Here's a thought, a little conundrum for you....

a) Do boaters spend money when they moor up in towns or villages or near pubs or restaurants?

b) What is the role of a local government Tourism department/manager ?

My answers to the above, yours may well be quite different, are;

a) more often than not, Yes.  Boaters will buy groceries, a meal, a pint, a paper etc.

b) A local tourism dept. should promote and facilitate the means of attracting tourists/visitors to their patch.  This on the basis that tourists/visitors will spend money with local businesses


So , if  a local authority had  a 100 miles of statutory navigation within their area would it be worthwhile making the most of the water frontage to promote tourism?  You would think so wouldn't you?  Yet, there is a location in the UK with 100 miles of statutory navigation where facilities for boaters barely exist, few visitor moorings, only two water points, one refuse point in a 100 miles of waterway and no, repeat, no, official sanitation facility.

Welcome to Fenland!

The waterways hereabouts are managed primarily as flood/drainage systems and secondly as statutory navigation's by a Quango, The Middle Level Commissioners, one of 160 Inland Drainage Boards (IDB's) across the UK .  Financed by a land rate/tax, there is no contribution to the MLC's coffers made by the boating community.  People that work for the MLC tell me that boat licencing has been dismissed as a means to raise income because boaters would 'want' more...? 
But if boaters contributed then boaters would be financing the improvements anyway...surely?

Apparently a report on licencing indicated that £250,000 could be raised annually.  The sanitation station at March has been closed because the pump-out and elsen facility needs replacing and would cost £25k (Fenland Council figures) which is uneconomic....they claim, but boat licencing would build ten such units each year if necessary!

There are somewhere in the region of 500 boats that call the Middle Levels 'home' and in excess of 1000 boats that transit the fenland waters to get to and from the R. Nene and R. Gt. Ouse each year. A modest licence fee would pay to put in water points, refuse and sanitation and moorings by towns and villages/pubs.

Surely a bit of vision is called for.

An effective partnership between the local authorities and the MLC could transform boating on the middle levels and add enormously to the attractiveness of the region and the potential income that could be derived from just need to give potential visitors the chance to actually stop and visit.

So, the conundrum..

How do you get Local Government and it's local Quango

to take to the floor and Tango??


  1. The local IWA are doing their best. Its thanks to them in cooperation with Benwick council that the Benwick moorings exist. The are now trying to do the same at 3 Holes. They have also been in a lot of consultation with March Council to get the sani station back in to use.

  2. Hi Brian
    Thanks for that. I assume that 'local' IWA is the Peterborough Branch and I have had a look at their website and publication. Are you a member? I would be interested in joining if I thought I could be of value but being on the move all the time as a Ccer rather precludes that. Anyway, more power to their 'elbow',well done them.
    The George Inn at Ramsey Forty Foot are also interested in having moorings by the way.
    best regards


Your comments are welcome, I love to read them and I try to respond to each but regretfully I will no longer accept comments from Anonymous.