Monday, 23 October 2017

Neighbours set to lose fight over river channel

PLANS to create a navigation channel for boats on the Thames in Shiplake are likely to

PLANS to create a navigation channel for boats on the Thames in Shiplake are likely to be recommended for approval despite opposition from residents.

Sarah Louise Langton, of Lashbrook Road, is seeking planning permission for a new “direct” route between the boathouse in Lashbrook Creek and the river.

More than 30 neighbours have objected, claiming the channel would create an “island” in the river.

It is estimated that about 400 cubic metres of material would need to be excavated to create the channel, although the navigation lines would not be visible.

The Environment Agency, which is responsible for the river, has objected on conservation grounds and has asked for additional ecological information with regards to the “floristic value” of the site and the Loddon lily.



But Tom Wyatt, team leader development management (East) at South Oxfordshire District Council, says the plans are likely to be recommended for approval if this objection can be overcome. He said: “While the access rights are acknowledged, this is a private matter that should not have a bearing on the outcome of the  application.”

Mrs Langton’s planning consultant T D Arch says a direct line to the boathouses would allow boats to be moved from existing moorings into the new channel where they would be “less obtrusive”.

The company’s design and access statement says: “The creek is difficult, if not impossible, to keep clear of silt and weed due to its shape and the number of owners bordering it.

“A new navigation channel will significantly reduce this problem by enabling water to circulate through it.”

The company says the application would not lead to more boats being moored in the area and the channel would be purely for the owner’s recreation and access to moorings. Shiplake Parish Council is opposed to the application and has asked the district council to refuse the plans.

It said: “We see no convincing or sustainable reason to change the existing riverbank and channel with a severe straight channel.

“We are not aware of any problems with rivercraft accessing the Lashbrook entrance.

“We know of even a narrowboat having done it comfortably in the past.

“We have concerns regarding the impact on flooding in this flood-prone area and whether it would in fact keep the channel clear and on the impact on local wildlife, fauna and flora by such major engineering work, turning an established spit of land into an island.

“Such excavation and removal of material as this major engineering work would entail would cause significant noise and HGV traffic nuisance to residents along the narrow ocean road.

“We believe it would obstruct the private rights of way and mooring held by  residents.”

The district council’s planning committee could make a decision at its meeting on September 16.



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