A new £5.45m marina in Hounslow has been recommended for approval, despite a claim the plans are "contrary to common humanity".

Hounslow Council has applied to create new moorings for 26 houseboats on the Thames beside Watermans Park, Brentford .

The council claims it will smarten up the riverside, generate extra income from mooring fees and act as a catalyst for regeneration in the area.

But existing boaters have criticised the proposals, which they claim are a waste of money, would damage the park and would harm wildlife.

Hounslow Council's plans for a new marina beside Watermans Park in Brentford

Councillors are set to vote on the planning application on Thursday, May 12, and council planning officers have recommended it for approval by members of the planning committee.

That is despite an objection from Brentford Community Council, which opposes the ongoing eviction of boat holders whom the council says are moored illegally.

'Marina plans sanitise the area'

The residents' association wrote: "A very considerable proportion of the huge budget is allocated to the cost of enforcing removal and/or relocation of existing boats and their owners from the site.

"This approach is contrary both to common humanity and to government policy.

"This scheme effectively 'sanitises' the area, restricting use of the moorings to those in a position to afford the artificially inflated costs of them."

The group also raised concerns about plans for the park, part of which would become a car park and storage area for new boat owners under the plans.

Stephen Alexander, who lives on a houseboat beside Watermans Park in Brentford

The council says it has received 11 objections in total, with concerns raised including the loss of open space, the impact of the proposed moorings on the river flow and disruption during the building work.

It says it has consulted the Environment Agency and the Port of London Authority, neither of which opposes the plans, and claims improvements to the park, including a new stage and the possibility of a pop-up café, will offset the loss of some parkland at the eastern end.

Boat dwellers ready to apply for judicial review

The council's proposals got a mixed response when they went on display last summer.

Boat holders opposing the council's plans have come up with an alternative proposal which they say would be cheaper and less damaging to the environment.

Stephen Alexander, who lives on one of the houseboats moored there, has produced a video setting out his concerns about the impact on the park of the council's plans.

Council leader Cllr Steve Curran has said "illegally-moored" houseboats are being rented out as "substandard accommodation" , with some using illegally installed power cables and dumping raw sewage in the river.

He told getwestlondon this week: "Let’s be clear from the outset, there are boats moored unlawfully.

"Some of the people living on the boats are littering, getting rid of their waste directly into the river and are trespassing to get access to their boats, which is unfair on owners who pay their mooring fees and the general public.

“We’re offering our full support to everyone living on the boats and will advise on issues such as housing to those who may need it.

Alternative plans for a new marina beside Watermans Park, produced by boat holders currently living there

“Too many times in the past, Hounslow Council administrations have failed to tackle this problem and take forward plans to create a clean, safe, accessible marina.

"Now we have an exciting opportunity to regenerate the area and it’s high time the issue of unlawful moorings is resolved.

"There is support for this action from other river users. We’re doing the right thing."

But boaters, who insist they have a right to be there, say they dispose of sewage responsibly and some are already paying council tax.

They accept the site requires some tidying up but believe the council would be better off cooperating with them to do so rather than taking legal action to have them removed.

They plan to apply for a judicial review should councillors approve the proposals on Thursday.

getwestlondon recently published a video which showed a "historic" boat at the moorings sinking .

Some people criticised the council, which had recently taken possession of the vessel, but others said it was in a state of disrepair before it came into the council's hands.

Video thumbnail, Deepwater sinking
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