The Early Days of the Campaign

Tideway Village boat community at Vauxhall is in danger of being wiped from the London landscape as soon as March 2011. Read on to see how you can make a difference and help prevent the Thames becoming a cloned, sterile, and characterless place and keep the Thames vibrant, diverse and beautiful.
London’s Thameside doesn't have to become a series of look-alike developments. Just as regulatory changes have allowed it, the right changes can begin to turn back the tide. Planning law could be used to require developers to embrace the prevalence of existing houseboat communities, to be incorporated into their schemes.

The battle to save Tideway Dock, one of London's last tidal docks as a sanctuary for London's most central community of houseboats is under way. It's another sad example of big business governing council planning common sense.

Tideway Dock may be an anachronism in the eyes of the planners, as it acts as a haven for some of those silent minorities under pressure in a modern city; old boats, ducks, flowers and of course the houseboat community, but it represents one of those 'special places' that makes London the city it is, a modern city that still has timeless hidden treasures buried within it.

Our situation is a classic big v small, economics v social issues, aesthetics v concrete. It's time to be counted in many ways.

We the houseboat community of Tideway Village ask you to support us, come and visit our 'special place' and sign the petition to save this hidden treasure of central London.

How it all started....

Originally a tidal dock, once a common feature on the Thames, Tideway Dock was used for collier barges  when unloading for the nearby gas works, and it had been forgotten and neglected for years. It was empty and only home to  some rusty scrap and a few old supermarket trolleys, a disused eyesore when David Waterhouse first came across it,  the then deserted Battersea Barge was the only boat there. David moved onto the barge to caretake it and then ended up buying it. In 2001 he had the chance to buy the ex-floating hostal boat, the Newark, which he found up a creek in Barking and towed up river to Tideway Dock, setting up camp without any services for a year during which planning consent was applied for and an access licence aquired from the Gas Board Pension Fund who then owned the estate. Rainer Cole was doing the same thing for his boat, St Michaels whilst David applied for a second slot for the projected Layla.
There were no services in place and David had to put in two piles for his boats to moor up to. He then constructed the gangway and stairs that now give us access and then connected up to electricity, water, sewage and telephone main services. Later he added gas to give the boats all the conveniences of a modern home. He set up rubbish disposal with a private company and agreed with the council to pay Council Tax.

They became a small registered community within the Wandsworth Council metropolitan area. They were proud of what we had created and with the Battersea Barge set about planting out the Tideway Village with pots of flowers and shrubs to decorate the peaceful space. It was felt that something quite special had been established in the centre of the city with a vibrant community of people involved in all sorts of professions; this has continued and has involved many talented people over the years. Meanwhile, The Battersea Barge provided the community with a very special venue for parties and shows, giving the Village a degree of self sufficiency in entertainment few small communities could rival. 

Tideway Village has arrived and plans to stay.

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