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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 15:18 GMT
Boat evictions inquiry adjourned
Barges at Downings Road moorings
The barges are near Tower Bridge
A public inquiry into the eviction notice for 60 boat dwellers has been adjourned until 5 July.

People living at Downings Roads Moorings near Tower Bridge were appealing against Southwark Council's decision at a public inquiry.

The 30 barges are moored illegally and locals have complained about noise and loss of amenities, the council says.

An adjournment was granted to let the council decide on a planning submission which would legitimise the moorings.

But the inquiry heard that planning officers have advised the planning committee to reject the application.

We are fighting for our homes and the continuance of a unique and vibrant community who have so much to offer the borough, culturally and historically
Moorings resident Anne Wainwright
The final decision rests with the committee which will meet on 5 April.

If they approve the application there will be no need for an inquiry.

MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey and Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Simon Hughes was at Tuesday's shortened hearing.

He said: "This morning's decision of the inspector to adjourn the enforcement appeal until after Southwark Council planning committee can deal with the issue is the right decision and welcome.

"Today has shown that breadth of support for moorings on the river and widespread agreement about the sensible way forward."

The group says the area has been used for moorings for 150 years and has collected a 2000-strong petition.

At high tide the boats are at the same level as our windows and the boat residents can look right into our homes
Shore side resident Celia Moxon
Moorings resident Anne Wainwright said: "There is so much at stake.

"We are fighting for our homes and the continuance of a unique and vibrant community who have so much to offer the borough, culturally and historically."

But a spokesman for Southwark said its planning officers have investigated the moorings - which it says have increased in numbers since the early 1990s - after complaints from local residents.

"On the evidence available, Southwark Council concluded that the use was not lawful and that it is contrary to the council's development plan policies," the spokesman said.

Celia Moxon, from the Riverside Residents' Association, which represents the shore side residents, said: "This is about privacy.

"We had a great view of across the river London's skyline when we first moved in five years ago.

"But about three years ago we had this village grow up.

"Now at high tide the boats are at the same level as our windows and the boat residents can look right into our homes."




SEE ALSO:
My London: 'Life on the river'
15 Sep 03  |  London


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