MOST of the 30 barge owners told to remove their boats from Bridgwater Docks by the end of April remain at the site.
Twelve boats have been removed – the vast majority of which were not being used or were in disrepair – most of them this week.
But the rest of the owners are sitting tight as the Canal and River Trust (CRT), whose lease expired at the end of last month, and the owners, Somerset County Council, remain at loggerheads over the state of the docks.
The county council is concerned at the cost of renovating the area if they take back responsibility without work being done by the CRT first.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The Canal & River Trust (CRT) has ended its lease of Bridgwater Docks. We are pleased that the CRT had agreed to take on a temporary licence which will give the Trust some extra time to ensure the mooring arrangements it put in place during its tenancy are brought to an end in line with the terms of the lease.
“We do not believe that the infrastructure supporting the moorings is suitable and therefore it would not be appropriate for SCC to support the continuation of current arrangements when the licence expires.
“Discussions are ongoing between the two parties to agree the extent of dilapidation works required at the site by the CRT under the terms of the lease.
“Discussions with the town council and other local partners are ongoing to review the potential to transfer the docks to a local social enterprise partnership for future management as a community asset and to try as far as possible to secure a sustainable future for the site.
“As a last resort we will take steps to dispose of the site on the open market.”
Mark Evans, Canal and River Trust director for Wales and the South West, said: “We understand that Bridgwater Town Council remains keen to take over running the docks.
“It would be a very welcome solution for those people with boats moored in the docks.
“The Trust remains committed to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and looks forward to continuing our work with everyone to build on this positive development.”