We are taking action or have taken action on unauthorised moorings at Cigarette Island, Albany Reach, Ditton Reach, Hurst Park, Cherry Orchard Gardens, Walton Towpath, Hampton Court Bridge, confluence of Rivers Mole and Ember, Molesey Lock and Desborough Island. Latest news from Environment Agency: Document EA Elmbridge Newsletter November 2023 (PDF, 755.92KB) Cigarette Island, Albany Reach, Ditton Reach Update 27 February 2023 There are currently a group of boats moored without consent on the edge of Cigarette Island (opposite Hampton Court Palace), and a further larger 'floating home' moored alongside Cigarette Island, round the corner closer to Hampton Court Station. Our mooring enforcement contractor, District Enforcement, have visited the site but are unable to action at this time as these are not named/registered boats. The Environment Agency are similarly inspecting the ‘boats’ to investigate if there are any other registrations offences. In the meantime, the council has started possession proceedings to recover possession of the land. The owners will be issued with a formal notice to advise that the occupants are trespassing on council-owned land and to give them 10-14 days to leave before legal action is taken and to check if there are any welfare issues that the council needs to be aware of. At the same time District Enforcement will maintain a regular presence and reinforce the message that these boats are trespassing and mooring without consent. Environment Agency Waterways Officers are carrying out compliance work to ensure that boats have valid boat registrations for 2023 at numerous sites across the whole of the non-tidal River Thames. The Environment Agency have been made aware of the partially sunken vessel at Albany reach – unless the boat is causing a navigation hazard they will not be removing it. Hurst Park Update May 2023 All vessels currently moored at this location are overstaying and are subject to enforcement action by the Environment Agency. Environment Agency Waterways Officers, supported by their Enforcement Team, have carried out a number of visits to the boats moored at Hurst Park and at Ferry Road. They have started to investigate all of these boats for registration offences and also overstaying at the mooring. Following these visits, some of the boats have already moved on, and our officers will be carrying up follow up visits with those that haven’t. Cherry Orchard Gardens Update September 2023 Land Registry application update The EA believe that they own the land in this location but it currently remains unregistered with HM Land Registry. Attempts to register the land by adverse possession to date have been challenged by local river users. These challenges have been sufficient to suggest that the application may not have been successful based on the evidence available at the time. Following further evidence gathering and correspondence with HM Land Registry throughout 2022 and early 2023, the EA requested a cancellation of their application. The EA are now working on an alternative land registration route based on historic title evidence and plan to submit a further application to HM Land Registry, subject to securing sufficient evidence. The EA are aware that three applications for registration of small sections of the river bank have been submitted by local river users in recent months and plan to submit objections in respect of these applications once we are consulted by HM Land Registry. Civil trespass proceedings: On Wednesday 19 April, the EA served possession proceedings to the riverbed, which the Environment Agency has registered title to between Sunbury Lock and Cherry Orchard Road West Molesey, and all boats found to be moored over the riverbed in that location at that time. This is currently listed for a court hearing on 31 October 2023. Planning Enforcement The council is aware of the issues at this stretch of the Thames in Molesey and is working with partners to secure a long-term solution to this area: Planning permission was refused on 18 December 2020 for the retrospective mooring of the boats for recreational or residential uses at Cherry Orchard Gardens, Molesey. The applicants appealed the refusal of these decisions and they were heard at an informal planning hearing on 15 March 2022. The Planning Inspectorate issued the appeal decision on 26 April 2022 and confirmed that they agreed with the council’s decision on 4 out of the 5 boat moorings and the appeals were dismissed, meaning planning permission is refused. The Planning Inspectorate issued a decision dated 26 April 2022 which dismissed appeals against the Council’s decision to refuse their retrospective planning applications. The appellants sought to quash the Planning Inspectorate’s appeal decision via their statutory review applications. The Court of Appeal have refused to grant permission to appeal on 20 January 2023, upholding the High Court Order to refuse permission for their statutory reviews on 27 September 2022. The council is reviewing its position in respect of the enforcement notices and next steps. Hampton Court Bridge Update 11 May 2022 Surrey County Council own, and manage the East and West landings (either side of the bridge) at Hampton Court Bridge, Molesey. These 2 small sections of mooring are subject to flooding and deemed unviable for individual licences to boat owners. Surrey’s strategy is to license business use only at this location and boat owners moored along here have been contacted following meetings with the registering authority (Environment Agency), and new signage was erected over a year ago. Most boats have now gone leaving those that are suspected to be abandoned or where owners are refusing to cooperate. Working with agency partners and our legal team, the process of prosecuting errant owners or removing vessels is well under way. Desborough Island The Environment Agency is the owner of the riverbank along the Desborough Cut. It is aware that a number of vessels are now moored here without its consent and will take appropriate action against the owners when it can, given continuing restrictions on its operational activities due to coronavirus, and other priorities.