High Court ends long running legal battle

Hounslow Council has successfully concluded action against the illegal occupation of Council land at Watermans Park.

Published: Tuesday, 21st November 2017

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Hounslow Council has successfully concluded action against the illegal occupation of Council land at Watermans Park and the riverside at Brentford by a number of boat owners who challenged its ownership and rights to occupy the area.

Legal costs of more than £300,000 have been awarded against eight boat owners who took the Council to court. They have to make an immediate interim payment of £150,000 within 21 days of the order.

If any person fails to move, and does not remove their boats, electrical cables, pipes and services to their boats, the Council is entitled to remove the boats and all the services to them after 21 days of the order.

The judgement handed down by Judge Wulwik, on 17 November, was a “penal notice” making non-compliance a criminal offence against all boat owners and any third party who may subsequently arrive.

Hounslow Council has been given planning permission to redevelop this waterfront site. Residents who have legitimate moorings, have complained that it is not fair that illegal boaters at Watermans Park have continued to moor without paying any mooring fees.  In addition, many of the boats are sub-standard and dangerous.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “I am pleased that this long running dispute is now at an end. These boats are moored unlawfully. Not only are they being unfair to owners who pay their mooring fees and those who visit the marina, they are also getting rid of waste directly into the river and trespassing to access their boats.

“The Council gave the boat owners every opportunity to settle this matter including mediation to agree a date for them to leave which they ignored.

“Watermans Park has been earmarked for development including a new marina which will create jobs for local people and revitalise the area. We want to make sure that everyone is moored there legally and to create a clean, safe and accessible marina that can be enjoyed by all.”