The Canal & River Trust has said it was B&NES' decision to close the bins at Bathampton

By John Wimperis - Local Democracy Reporter

21st Mar 2024 | Local News

The bins by the canal at Bathampton are collected for the last time on Monday March 11 - image supplied
The bins by the canal at Bathampton are collected for the last time on Monday March 11 - image supplied

The closure of a "essential" waste facility for boaters near Bath was ordered by the local council, canal bosses have stated.

Bathampton boaters were shocked when their bin facility — which had been a hotspot for sly tipping — was closed down at short notice last week (March 11). A petition against the move, which has been signed by over 450 people, questioned why the Canal & River Trust could not simply have put a lock on the facility or increased its security.

But now the Trust has said it had tried to improve security but was blocked by Bath and North East Somerset Council and told to remove the bins.

Mark Evans, regional director at the Canal & River Trust said: "We are disappointed that we've had to close the bin store at Bathampton. This was after the council rejected our proposal to invest in improving the security of the compound and threatened enforcement action. It was on their instruction that the site had to be closed.

"Frustratingly, the fly tipping at the bin store, which costs our charity many thousands of pounds, isn't thought to be from boaters – who, along with residents, colleagues and contractors have all been helping to try to manage and rectify the situation."

The Trust and the council had presented a united front to upset boaters last week, saying in a joint statement that they were working together to resolve the issue. But council leader Kevin Guy, who is also the local councillor for Bathavon North, said in his capacity as local councillor that the trust had "failed both the Bathampton and boater communities."

Responding, Mr Evans said: "We have been working with the council in good faith, so the incorrect statements made by the leader of the council are very frustrating.

"We urge them to agree to a delay in the closure of the site, which is on council owned land, whilst we work together to identify a way forward. Whilst our preference is to invest in improving the site, we will also seek to identify nearby alternative sites that could serve our customers, albeit with some added inconvenience."

Mr Guy insisted his comments had been accurate and said: "Unfortunately, the CRT don't like it as the council and residents have publicly pointed out their clear failings on managing this site over years."

He added: "It is, I believe, accurate to state that very recently after years of complaints and fixed penalty warnings from the council, that local CRT staff have now made enquiries with the planning department regarding building an alternative store in this vicinity. No application has been submitted though.

"However, given the case history of this waste facility, the council's waste services have entirely lost faith in the ability of the CRT to manage this or any other new facility at this location. There is no evidence to suggest that the CRT have the capability to manage any new store at this location in a manner which would address the issues of overflowing bins, large scale rat infestation and fly tipping."

Boaters — many of whom bid higher prices for moorings near to the facility — now face having to make long trips to dispose of their rubbish.

The next closest bins on the canal are in Bath or at the Dundas basin, but boaters have warned they are already too full and too far to travel to with rubbish.

Another nearby facility in Darlington Wharf was closed years ago.


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