ISIS LOCK PROPOSAL FOR HEIGHT RESTRICTION ON
RIVER BOOM: CONSULTATION REPORT
6th February 2012 at Castle Mill Stream, Oxford
There were 19 responses to this consultation. In summary :-
Ten people were supportive of the height restriction
Six people were against the height restriction proposal
Three further people made comments about the boom in general, but did not make a direct
response to the consultation proposal.
Of the ten people who were supportive of the height proposal :-
Two people were concerned at the possibility of the ‘overstaying/problem boat’ issue being
Two people would also like the visual impact of the boom amending also
One respondent made suggestions on an amended methodology for the height restriction
(and associated signage amendments)
One respondent suggested that the height could be lowered to be more effective, to say
Of the six people who were against the height proposal:-
Two respondents were concerned that it would not solve the boat problem and it would
move it elsewhere.
Three mentioned visual intrusion – although this was mainly directed at the boom itself.
One respondent felt that the boom/height restriction was not legal.
That the three authorities involved in the consultation :
BW, OCC and EA – progress with the installation of the height restriction
The EA have considered the suggestions made regarding amendments to the height restriction
made above – the height of the restriction is not possible to change. They have responded to BW
on other points regarding materials & signage. The height restriction will now be progressed during
February / March 2012.
Waterway Manager, British Waterways
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APPENDIX: COPY OF CONSULTATION PAPER ISSUED November 2011
Proposal for height restriction on river boom at Castle Mill Stream, Oxford: your
Over the past year, you will have noticed changes on the waterways near where you live: in
particular, the introduction of a boom across the southern section of Castle Mill stream just below
Isis Lock which joins the stream with the Oxford Canal.
We are writing on behalf of the above authorities to explain the background to this work and to
invite your comments on the final step needed to complete the project.
There were two related reasons for introducing the boom. During the 2009 winter, several vessels
entering the Castle Mill stream from the Oxford canal got into difficulty due to the strong flow. This
is always a risk it times of fast flowing water if boats moor in the area to the south of Isis Lock. The
boom reduces this risk.
The river banks are not suitable for the mooring of residential boats and they do not have planning
consent for this use. The Rewley Park Management Company and residents of the authorised
moorings on the Hythe Bridge arm have lodged complaints on several occasions about the impact
of unlawfully moored boats on local residents.
Unlawful mooring against British Waterways’ land and the associated unauthorised use of the
facilities provided for the legitimate residential moorings in the area dates back some years. On
one occasion, BW took enforcement action and removed the offending boats, only for others to
take up subsequent occupation. This was not good use of public money.
Before deciding on the boom, we considered a range of options for reducing unlawful mooring and
improving safety, and we concluded that the boom was by far the most practical and cost-effective
solution. It was constructed at minimum cost because we were able to economise on contractor
time by installing the piles at the same time as the landing stage below Isis Lock. The Environment
Agency donated other material that was no longer needed on River Thames structures, and Oxford
City Council made a modest contribution to the installation costs. None of the three bodies
supporting this consultation have deep pockets and we are all subject to the stringent public
expenditure cuts that we’re all aware of. We believe that the boom is the best value and most
sustainable solution to a problem that has troubled many local residents for some years. We also
believe that these considerations must take precedence over the appearance of the structure
which we understand some people have objected to.
Castle Mill stream is not part of the main River Thames but there is a right of navigation for small
craft such as canoes and rowing boats when it is safe. This was the reason for the gap between
the two parts of the boom. Unfortunately, some particularly persistent boaters continue to
disregard danger signs and have managed to navigate their way past the boom to once again take
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HEIGHT RESTRICTION PROPOSAL
To install a height restriction between the centre two piles of the boom. This will allow the passage
of small craft but prevent access by larger boats. The height restriction would consist of a rigid
steel wire with a cleat on each end connected to the pile and padlocked at each end to enable
access by Environment Agency and British Waterways staff. The height restriction set at 1.5m
above normal water level would be highly visible and feature plastic floats at 0.5m intervals along
the wire. This would prevent injury should a person be struck by it. A ‘Warning Maximum Height
1.5m’ sign would also be hung from the height restriction.
We are consulting local residents and organisations with an interest in this subject to contact us
with their views on the above proposal. Please address these to
before 9th December 2011. If you object to the proposal,
please indicate what practical alternative method you would prefer for ensuring that boats are not
moored unlawfully within the stream and that safety risks to vessels and people are controlled.
Please note that the scope of this consultation does not extend to the positioning of the boom and
nearby landing stage. These matters have been subject to recent independent and extensive
examination through both BW’s and EA’s formal complaints processes. The results of this have
confirmed the status quo in respect of the principle attributes of these structures. British
Waterways is however considering minor adjustments to the landing stage to make the turn into
the navigation stream from/into Isis Lock a little easier. This will be the subject of a separate short
consultation with boaters.
West Thames Area
Oxford City Council