Tell us whether you think the sale of these river moorings in Ely should be halted
- Credit: Archant
The Inland Waterways Association has called on the Environment Agency to withdraw the sale of three lengths of mooring in Ely.
Three riverside businesses - The Hotel Water Nimf, boat hire firm Bridge Boatyard and boat restoration service the Boat Yard - could be forced to fold if the Environment Agency find a buyer for the land valued at £195,000 at an auction next week (September 8).
But the Waterways Association, a national charity which campaigns for all 6,500 miles of canals and rivers in the UK, has penned a letter to the chief executive of the EA, Sir James Bevan, asking him to halt the sale.
A spokesman said: “The Association considers that this is extremely short-sighted given that the businesses and moorings at this location bring in an income to the Environment Agency as the navigation authority.
“The IWA is extremely concerned at the impact the sale will have on the three waterway-related businesses based on the side: Bridge Boatyard, which has been operating for over 40 years, hotel barge Water Nimf and The Boat Yard boat restoration business.
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“Bridge Boatyard brings between 2,000 and 2,500 people on to the river each year on their hire boats, the loss of which would have a serious effect on the tourism and leisure use of the river and consequently on the economy of Ely and other towns and villages along the river through loss of visitor spend.”
Owners of businesses on the moorings have criticised the Environment Agency for putting the land up for sale, with one of the owners of the Hotel Water Nimf, Stuart Fowler, calling it “insane”.
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He said: “From a cash flow basis, the amount of money that the three businesses bring in over the course of a year far outweighs the one-off payment they will receive.”
The Environment Agency has deemed the land “surplus to requirements,” but the IWA says the moorings are vital for the river’s future.
“It is IWA’s view that the moorings and the hire business at the site should be considered as essential for income and the future sustainability of the river and the land should therefore be retained by the Environment Agency,” the spokesman continued.