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Jon Ody
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This happened yesterday, a serious fire and a dog died:

 

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11850969.Man_taken_to_hospital_after_boat_fire_at_Castle_Mill/

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11853317.Woman_loses_dog_and_possessions_in_boat_fire/

 

The boat is part of a "land grab" of moored boats on the castle mill stream in the no-mans land between the oxford canal and river thames.

 

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11283663.Boat_people_in_land_grab/

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Far too soon to make any comment really, but I do wonder what the status of the boat was in terms of a BSS certificate? It is just possible that it didn't comply, and the non-compliance had something to do with the fire.

 

On the other hand it could have been something else entirely.


The devastated dog owner might also like to consider to what extent her own negligence led to the death of the dog.

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No accusation - read it again. I invited her to consider etc

Presumably it was her that locked the dogs in?

Read the b****y article before posting. Three dogs escaped and there was an adult human on board with them... You seem to be on a roll of posting incorrect facts and misinformation recently...

Edited by DeanS
against site guidelines - swearing removed
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I'll also add that when I first wrote this post it quickly became a 1000 word essay on oxford boat politics, but that's now safely tucked away so as to not drown out the message of the serious boat fire and the loss of life involved. :(

 

I will add though that there is another of these land-grabs nearby, and that within the last six months there was another fire which also resulted in the loss of an animal's life:

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/top_news/11460173.Fears_as_boat_owners____group_claims_new_area_of_riverbank/

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11582204.Investigation_into_boat_blaze_near_Osney_Bridge_continues/

 

so two almost identical incidents within six months, within a mile of each other, against a background of heavy-handed (but apparently ineffective) "enforcement" led by Oxford City Council.

 

going back to 2012, not a "land grab" but another inaccessible no-mans land between river and canal boat fire resulted in the loss of human life.

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/10055297.UPDATE__Human_remains_found_at_scene_of_Wolvercote_boat_fire/

 

Alarms bells must be ringing somewhere?

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I agree with you Ian its a mess and it does boaters no good in some respects. I am fairly well off so dont have the problem of not being able to pay my way, but others arnt so fortunate so you can understand why they do it. I have a border collie so do feel very sorry for the terror the dog experienced before dying not a good way for anything to go

 

Peter

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So probably best if you don't? Especially if you are going to accuse someone of negligence in the absence of any evidence..

As indeed you probably also have no knowledge of the situation in Castle Mill Stream. That has been an area where boats have taken up residence to avoid BW (now CRT) and EA mooring and licensing since the late 70s to my knowledge. It has always attracted those who wanted city centre moorings but with no costs involved for a very long time. As a result the craft moored there (and originally on the Hythe Bridge Street arm) have rarely met the conditions that would suggest a safe environment in which to live.

Roger

Edited by Albion
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It says that the boat was hired, so who will be responsible for the insurance and ultimate removal of the wreckage, the tenant or the owner?

 

Recently it took nine months for the EA to remove a narrowboat sunk on the main channel at iffley, and even then only because the riverbank was required for a university regatta (possibly paid for by the university after EA failed to trace the owner).

Nobody knows who owns this land at the castle mill stream, allegedly sold by network rail to BW at some point in the past but both bodies deny responsibility for it. The boat isn't sunk, just fire-damaged. And where would they remove it to???

 

Short answer - the wreckage won't be removed, it'll stay where it is indefinitely.

 

Cynical answer - why remove it when there will be queues of people lining up to rent it as a city-centre liveaboard project boat.

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Far too soon to make any comment really, but I do wonder what the status of the boat was in terms of a BSS certificate? It is just possible that it didn't comply, and the non-compliance had something to do with the fire.

 

My instincts tell me that this boat wouldn't have had BSS, license or insurance. I don't have any evidence for any of that though.

 

I will point out that having a BSS certificate doesn't guarantee that you have a safe boat, or vice versa. There are many crooked BSS examiners out there and even the good ones can make mistakes. I've seen many boats in the oxford area with BSS certificates and licenses and insurance and moorings etc etc that one could quite accurately describe as deathtraps. i'm not saying that it's an oxford problem either, the boat safety scheme shortcomings are a national problem.

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Read the b***y article before posting. Three dogs escaped and there was an adult human on board with them... You seem to be on a roll of posting incorrect facts and misinformation recently...

 

Local press is notorious for inaccuracies, but I did read all three of them nevertheless. If I have recently posted things you don't agree with, you are perfectly entitled to your own opinion, but if I am in error, do feel free to point it out. Don't mistake opinions for facts, though.

 

 

My instincts tell me that this boat wouldn't have had BSS, license or insurance. I don't have any evidence for any of that though.

 

I will point out that having a BSS certificate doesn't guarantee that you have a safe boat, or vice versa. There are many crooked BSS examiners out there and even the good ones can make mistakes. I've seen many boats in the oxford area with BSS certificates and licenses and insurance and moorings etc etc that one could quite accurately describe as deathtraps. i'm not saying that it's an oxford problem either, the boat safety scheme shortcomings are a national problem.

 

Valid points, Jon, and my instincts were similar. I'm sure you agree, though, that a boat without a BSS certificate (nor any sign of one for years) is much more likely to be unsafe.

As indeed you probably also have no knowledge of the situation in Castle Mill Stream. That has been an area where boats have taken up residence to avoid BW (now CRT) and EA mooring and licensing since the late 70s to my knowledge. It has always attracted those who wanted city centre moorings but with no costs involved for a very long time. As a result the craft moored there (and originally on the Hythe Bridge Street arm) have rarely met the conditions that would suggest a safe environment in which to live.

Roger

 

Yes, I read that bit too!

Edited by DeanS
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My instincts tell me that this boat wouldn't have had BSS, license or insurance. I don't have any evidence for any of that though.

 

 

It's a reasonable supposition. why would you go to the trouble of getting a BSS certificate for a boat which is not on EA or CRT waters?

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It's a reasonable supposition. why would you go to the trouble of getting a BSS certificate for a boat which is not on EA or CRT waters?

 

Especially when you're renting it out and therefore have to meet the higher standards for rental craft.

 

Assuming the newspaper comment that the boater rents it is correct, of course. I'm wondering if the Oxford mail got their facts muddled and they actually mean the mooring space is rented.

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Just spotted that the Jericho land grabs have already been discussed on this site: http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=67716

 

Are the mooring rights relevant to the discussion of the fire? Well yes, because these boats are being deliberately moored in places where they are not accessible by the emergency services because of the actions (some call it kettling) of Oxford City Council forcing them away from convenience.

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It's a reasonable supposition. why would you go to the trouble of getting a BSS certificate for a boat which is not on EA or CRT waters?

 

 

So that you can go boating?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, wrong answer.

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Especially when you're renting it out and therefore have to meet the higher standards for rental craft.

 

Assuming the newspaper comment that the boater rents it is correct, of course. I'm wondering if the Oxford mail got their facts muddled and they actually mean the mooring space is rented.

Mike, to my knowledge that stream has not had an 'owner' as such for decades which is why some boats took up residence on it rather than on CRT waters above Isis (Louse) lock or the Thames just at the end of the link so it is unlikely that there is a landlord as such to rent from unless things have changed.

Roger

Edited by Albion
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Assuming the newspaper comment that the boater rents it is correct, of course. I'm wondering if the Oxford mail got their facts muddled and they actually mean the mooring space is rented.

 

I'm led to believe via local contacts that this is indeed one of those 'slum landlord' type arrangements. £650 per month housing benefit - Kaching!

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From the third link, (with Fox's comments in brackets):

 

BOAT dwellers have laid claim to an Oxford riverbank by roping it off and declaring it their own (sounds like 'stealing', eh?)

A group calling themselves “Friends of Castle Mill Stream” have taken over a 100-yard stretch of land and have said it is now their private property ("It's OURS now, not YOURS!")

But Jericho residents have said it amounts to an “annexation.”

The boating group moored five boats on the banks of Castle Mill Stream, running alongside the Oxford Canal, down a 100-yard stretch opposite St Barnabas Church.

 

Notices have been posted, which read: “This community organisation is created to make good a poor situation (for ourselves?). Approximately 30,000 live aboard their boats in the UK.

“Mooring spaces are mostly limited to those who can afford high impact environmental marinas. (yachting and ski-ing in St Moritz are also for the rich).
“[We] claim this land given a boundary here as private land by claiming it from an unregistered classification [sic].

 

Angela Aristidou, of Rewley Road, said the area was a popular spot for residents to relax.
The 31-year-old, who is a researcher at Cambridge University, said: “This kind of behaviour is selfish. If everyone acted this way there would be no banks for my daughter to throw stones from. (throwing stones at what - swans, ducks, boat windows???).
“They are in a central part of Oxford and are used every day by residents. Children play there, people go fishing, couples sit to relax after work (really?).
“Claiming it as private property means only a few can enjoy it. (No - you just ignore the 'we have stolen this' notice).
“The counter-culture argument they seem to be making does not change the fact they have just taken a public asset.”

Oxford City Council Jericho and Osney ward councillor Susanna Pressel said she had referred the matter to the Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group (UMBEG) and the Canal & River Trust, after residents complained.
The trust is responsible for the waterway, but boating liaison manager Matthew Symonds told Ms Pressel the land was unregistered.
He said: “I have been advised that the trust should not remove [the roping] at this stage as it may complicate the matter of land ownership. The wording on the signage is of little legal merit and does not indicate that the boaters have rights to the unregistered land.

 

(How about finding out who owns the land, surely can't be that difficult? If the land owner isn't bothered, then just let those boats be if they're not causing a nuisance? It would be interesting to find out what really happened, but I 'spose we never will. No money for a marina mooring, but money to support 4 dogs though.)

 

(Call for Inspector Morse!)

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Local press is notorious for inaccuracies.

 

 

 

Assuming the newspaper comment that the boater rents it is correct, of course. I'm wondering if the Oxford mail got their facts muddled and they actually mean the mooring space is rented.

 

The Oxford Mail is particularly rubbish when it comes to boats and waterways. A shame since so much of what happens locally (lack of moorings, interface of canal and EA waterways, big emphasis on rowing/cycling interests, massive shortfall in local affordable accommodation forcing non-boaters onto the water, flooding, decline in boating facilities, posh housing schemes vs traditional boating) is so relevant on a national level as well. I do quite regularly comment on their articles when i see inadequacies, sometimes getting a bit shouty. part of the problem is it's never the same reporter twice.

Surely if the local council has been paying housing benefit, they would have a duty to check it was legal and safe to be rented and lived on.

 

i don't know the ins and outs of being a slum landlord, but i'd certainly hope that was the case. there's a lot of it about though.

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Mike, to my knowledge that stream has not had an 'owner' as such for decades which is why some boats took up residence on it rather than on CRT waters above Isis (Louse) lock or the Thames just at the end of the link so it is unlikely that there is a landlord as such to rent from unless things have changed.

Roger

 

I am aware of the site and what is going on there.

 

I was imagining one of the 'owners' that have fenced it off and claimed the land might have perhaps gone one step further and monetarised 'their' asset, by renting out 'their' mooring space.

 

It might explain the Mail's rather odd assertion the boater was renting.

 

MtB

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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(How about finding out who owns the land, surely can't be that difficult? If the land owner isn't bothered, then just let those boats be if they're not causing a nuisance? It would be interesting to find out what really happened, but I 'spose we never will. No money for a marina mooring, but money to support 4 dogs though.)

 

The land was historically sold by Network Rail to British Waterways, but both parties deny any responsibility for it. Oxford City council are (allegedly) inundated by complaints about these boats and have been cracking down on boats throughout the whole city since about 2010. UMBEG is the Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group, being representatives of Oxford city council, EA, CRT, university and police amongst others.

 

Even before the "land grab" made it public news this area was quite well known for boat-squatting as well as drug use (I've heard it called smack alley) and this end of the oxford canal is famous for being run down, cluttered towpaths, etc. It's not the case nowadays but it's hardly a shining example of sustainability. The walton well moorings further up the castle mill stream are a result of trying to legitimise existing squat moorings.

 

There are no marina moorings available for miles around. The nearest official residential marina is possibly Cropredy. There are other less official non-residential moorings but generally you need to be in the know or very rich to get in on them. Occasionally nearby online canal moorings come up for auction and any locals trying to avoid harassment are lucky to not get outbid by outsiders looking for cheap Oxford accommodation. Oxford is pretty unique in that near enough 100% of the residential moorings available in the city are transferable, ie you have to buy a boat with a mooring in order to gain access to that mooring. the mooring rights premium adds about £25-50,000 on top of the price of even a scrapworthy narrowboat.

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