BOAT owners in Bridgwater Docks – who have faced uncertainty over their future at the site for more than a year – finally have cause for optimism that they will be able to stay put.
In December 2019, the Canal and River Trust announced it would not be renewing its lease of the docks, which are owned by Somerset County Council.
The Trust said it was unable to commit to the costs of maintaining the waterway in the long term.
The decision plunged those living in the docks into uncertainty, with no clarity on what would happen to their home, though both the Trust and the council vowed to work together on finding a solution to the problem.
Deputy leader at BTC, Cllr Kathy Pearce (Westover), deputy leader at Bridgwater Town Council has been working on the plans for the future of the area and said people should be reassured work is continuing on finding a solution that works for all.
She said: “Bridgwater Docks is quite an unusual environment and important heritage asset to the town.
“If you try to find anywhere else like it in the South West, you will struggle. The boats have been part of that and bring the docks to life with a community that has evolved.
“However, it is also obviously apparent that the condition has been allowed to deteriorate and so, things came to a head when Canal and River Trust announced that they would not be renewing their lease.
“This is certainly an unsettling time for all concerned and especially stressful for the boat owners.
Ray Alexander, from the Inland Waterways Association which provides voluntary services maintaining the area, said: “The Inland Waterways Association wishes to see a long term and sustainable future for Bridgwater Docks and supports the proposed relocation of the boats along the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal on a temporary basis, pending the future of the Docks being resolved.”