Boaters on the river Cam are asking what the council’s extra moorings income will actually pay for

PUBLISHED: 05:39 06 April 2017

Sarah Airey on her boat which is currently moored on Midsummer Common, directly opposite Jesus College Boat House. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sarah Airey on her boat which is currently moored on Midsummer Common, directly opposite Jesus College Boat House. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

The price increase comes after a consultation, and has hit single occupants on Cambridge’s river.

Sarah Airey on her boat which is currently moored on Midsummer Common, directly opposite Jesus College Boat House. Picture: Keith HeppellSarah Airey on her boat which is currently moored on Midsummer Common, directly opposite Jesus College Boat House. Picture: Keith Heppell

Boaters on the River Cam start paying new moorings rates this week – their council tax equivalent.

And with 25 per cent of boaters thought to be facing a bill up to 47 per cent larger than they paid last April, some are asking what the rise is paying for.

The changes have come into effect after a 12-week consultation that revealed strong support for fees increasing by no more than two per cent.

The large increases are a result of scrapping the single occupancy discount, combined with fees based on boat length.

Councillor Richard Robertson said the council could have raised fees to be level with those paid in other parts of the county.

He told boaters: “If you want better services the cost has to be paid by somebody, and it’s not fair that it should be the council tax payer alone to do that.

“The fact is that the council has been making losses on these services for some years.”

In October, the council said £63,000 to £66,000 is generated from the moorings, of which £35,000 is used to support revenue costs, and the remainder is returned to the council for use in other services.

Sarah Airey has lived in Cambridge since starting her postgraduate studies in 2001.

She works for a start-up in the city, and has lived on the river for two-and-a-half years. She now faces a 33 per cent fee increase.

She said: “It’s such a big increase to face overnight. At the very least, it should be phased in incrementally. What frustrates me most is that I don’t understand how the council has suddenly claimed that we are being subsidised.

“It makes me wonder what costs are being attributed to mooring licence holders. The provisions for boaters are so minimal, it simply cannot be services.

“I just wish the council would stop seeing narrowboats as a problem and instead as a solution; supportive, affordable community living in a city with a housing crisis.”

The city council are yet to comment.

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