HMCA, Hartford Marina Community Association, was formed in February 2008 when Huntingdon District Council threatened residential berth holders on Hartford Marina with eviction. The reason being “address breaches of planning control relating to unauthorised residential occupation of lodges/houseboats/narrow boats/boats and flats as a sole or main residence”. Siobhan Weaver was voted as Chair, Sue Rodwell Smith as Secretary and Jackie Draper as Treasurer.
There are approximately 40 static houseboats, 9 lodges and 20 narrow boats which are the sole residence of berth holders. The management sought planning permission retrospectively and were granted permission for holiday use only on the Lodges (9) and houseboats (14) on the West Pontoon. This information was not passed on to the owners who lived quite happily for many years not realising they were in breach of planning.
The management then erected more houseboats on the East side of the marina, did NOT seek planning permission selling all the accommodation as full time residency, approximately 26 in all.
Over the next four years HMCA had many, many meetings with the District Council, inviting them to a BBQ, taking them out on boats, meeting with our local MP and lots of press coverage. The Chair at the time of the RBOA, Riverboat Owners Association, Rex Walden, was invaluable in supporting us and attended several planning meetings speaking on our behalf.
Eventually, the Council came to a compromise and agreed that no berth holder would be in fear of eviction if they lived in their homes before August 2012. We could live on our berths but when selling would have to sell as holiday use only. However, those who had lived on their berths for more than 10 years could apply for a CLUED, Certificate of Lawfulness for use of an Existing Development. To date nine berth holders have full residential use and others are pending.
HMCA do act on behalf of their members and have successfully
1) stopped a threatened eviction from the Council
2) assisting and subsequent success in obtaining full residential status via a CLUED for several berth holders
3) stopped the Marina from charging an electricity standing charge and obtaining credits for berth holders
4) secured an increase of our mooring licence from 1 to 5 years
5) cessation of interest charge and a levy on those paying mooring fees monthly
We are now currently, in 2015, fighting the Environment Agency who are insistent in charging us an unlawful river licence fee for all statics in the marina. Our membership dug deep into their pockets and we have funded representation in the Magistrate, Peterborough Crown Court and have enough to challenge in the High Court the Appeal the EA has now lodged.
We are now currently actively looking for public funding to support not only our case should it go on to the Supreme Court but also other marinas who are being targeted by the Environment Agency in obtaining illegal river licence fees against the express wish of Parliament.
UPDATE - May 2016
Marina Community Association has won its long battle with the
Environment Agency after the High Court ruled that the static floatng
homes in the marina were not 'vessels' and were not subject to
registration requirements. Full details on our News page here
We are still awaiting a full refund of all unlawfully demanded registration fees.
continue to support our good friends at Penton Hook and Thames and
Kennet marinas. Despite their cases being dismissed by the court
in November 2015, the Environment Agency is committing further
resources to appeal to the High Court just as it did in our case.
They lost, of course.
“UNITED WE STAND”
|Hartford Marina Community Association - Hartford Marina - Banks End - Wyton - Cambridgeshire PE28 2AA|