Mystery as Bath mooring fee firm gets evicted
The firm which collects riverside mooring fees for Bath and North East Somerset Council has been evicted from its premises by the authority.
Council officials have declined to explain why they gave Riverside Leisure Management notice to quit the Boat House by Pulteney Weir.
But they say they have confidence in the firm's ability to fulfil a trial arrangement, where it has taken over from sports centre operator Aquaterra in overseeing the authority's moorings between Pulteney and North Parade bridges.
There was concern over the way the recently established firm had been given the role by the authority in April, but B&NES launched an internal audit which concluded that the arrangements were acceptable.
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A council spokesman confirmed it had served notice on the firm, asking it to remove its goods and leave the premises in a clean and tidy condition.
He declined to explain why it had been asked to leave, saying: "Just like in any other situation where we have taken eviction action against a tenant, we would not normally disclose the reasons why this has been done in the interests of commercial confidentiality."
The council added: "RLM will continue to collect mooring fees as per their short-term contract. We are currently working with them to resolve operational matters related to certain issues. The moorings contract will be put out to tender in February 2013 as planned."
The council's relations with RLM have been complicated by plans and activities affecting the stretch of waterside, with B&NES officials telling RLM directors Andrew Hemmings and Andrew Hayter to halt proposals for a weekly Sunday market at the site.
The event, organised by a separate firm, the Canal Carrying Company (CCC), had been unlicensed and did not have landowner permission from B&NES, Bath Rugby or the Recreation Ground Trust.
The council has also ordered CCC's as yet unopened Bath Butty floating cafe operation to remove its electrical cabling – which had been laid across the towpath, up into trees and then connected to a rugby club junction box – and demanded that its bike hire business cease operating.
B&NES has refused to say how much it is paying RLM to oversee the moorings for the trial period, and has declined to comment on a suggestion that the figure is as low as £1.
"These financial arrangements are commercially confidential. However, the key point is that the council doesn't incur any operational costs for the moorings. The contractor operates the moorings entirely at their own commercial risk."
CCC is now hoping to get the right licences to operate a market by December.
Spokesman Alfie Windsor said the Bath Butty was almost ready to open and that he hoped for a speedy resolution of the electricity issue, and a supply of water."
RLM has not responded to emails and phone calls from the Chronicle.