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After earning negative national publicity for its bid to raise the price of London moorings in a series of price hikes more than four times the rate of inflation, as well as now facing a threat of a serious legal challenge, it seems Canal & River Trust is having a rethink. Whether it is simply a pause to allow the heat of protest to die down or a serious bid to engage mooring customers remains to be seen as Peter Underwood reports.
David Helliwell, of the Trust’s Waterside Moorings operation has written to London mooring customers saying: "The Trust is satisfied that it is both right and necessary to set our mooring fees in line with market prices, to ensure our fees keep pace with those of private operators. However, in response to the range of concerns that we have received we have decided to postpone the implementation of the phased introduction of market prices until 1st April 2019 to provide further time to review and explain our planned increases."
He goes on to add: “Any mooring agreement which is due for renewal between now and 31st March 2019, will have an inflation-only price increase, in line with the 3.4% increase we introduced nationally in April 2018.” but then adds: “Any assigned moorings will be charged at the new rate as advised, except those who hold a valid Houseboat Certificate with their mooring agreement.”
That might suggest C&RT is prepared to have a genuine rethink on the scale and scope of the price hikes or, as some fear, that C&RT is eventually going to plough ahead with the swingeing increases that many moorers will be priced off moorings they have called home for many years.
Mr Helliwell concludes: “We will provide further communication to you during the Autumn and set out your new mooring fee in your contract renewal documentation between 4-6 weeks prior to expiry of your current agreement.”
The Floater, like many, moorers was confused by the mixed messages which seemed to be saying C&RT still thinks the price hikes are right but also saying it is going to review them.
We asked the Trust: “Can your moorers hope that the review will change the level of increase over the three year period now being planned from next year?