British Waterways Marinas takes firm stance with members of a boating community in east London

The BWML presented liveaboards Rod Taylor, 75, and Anne Gavin, 71, with a Termination to Mooring contract after a dispute about rising marina costs ended up in court. 

The couple, residents in Poplar Dock Marina for 14 years aboard their houseboat Wylam, had concerns about rising mooring costs and the introduction of a wide beam charge. Taylor followed BWML’s prescribed complaints procedure and challenged the new charges at Bow County Court in January, but an unsuccessful outcome has left the couple having to pay up or leave. 

Taylor said: “The main reason for lodging the complaint was because of a threat to terminate a three-year contract after two years and impose a wide beam charge on all vessels with a beam of more than three metres, classifying Poplar as an inland marina when it is by the criteria a coastal marina.”

The marina is situated off Blackwall Basin, which is separated from the Tidal Thames by a lock. 

According to Taylor, when the three-year contract expired in December 2013 he was paying £5,700 a year for mooring his 20.3m long, 6m wide boat.

Taylor continued: “My mooring fee for the renewal from 1 January 2014 was £10,529 less the VAT because Wylam is a qualifying vessel.” Taylor said it would be more next year when the new 2015 contract, which includes the wide beam charge, comes into force. 

Darren Bramhall, BWML’s operations director, said in a statement: “We have operated totally within our terms and conditions and this unfortunate action was a necessary business decision, however hard that might sound.”

He told MBM, “At a recent meeting I offered our requirements of them to comply with our terms and conditions fully. If those are accepted, BWML will look into removing the termination and they will remain in the marina.”