Boaters Newsletter - January 2016

Dear Users,

The Directors and staff at Essex Waterways Ltd wish all our customers and users the complements of the season and a happy new year.

Update

Heybridge Basin Sea Lock Caisson Gate
The original caisson gate located at the eastern end of the lock has been inoperable for a while and was beyond further economic repair. Under the historic Hanningfield Water Order 1950, its replacement is the responsibility of Essex & Suffolk Water and they are organising this project. The old gate has now been completely removed in preparation for a new gate to be installed. The new gate is currently being manufactured and will look similar to the old gate, but will have a new hydraulic operating system.

Installation of the new gate and associated work will now take place over the winter of 2016/17 with a lock closure being planned from November through to the end of March 2017.  Dates will be confirmed. This revised programme will also enable replacement of the top gates during the same closure. No further closures are planned during the current 2015/16 winter.

Little Baddow Lock
The mild weather so far this winter and absence of flood conditions has helped us with our work at Little Baddow Lock to replace the gate cills and overhaul the gates. It has been found necessary to completely replace both lock cills and these have been removed ready for the new cill installation. Removal of the old cills is very time consuming and this has put pressure on our planned reopening of the lock prior to Christmas. At the time of writing there may be an overrun which could affect the reopening date. We will keep you updated by an e-mail newsletter if this should happen.

Sandford
The car park at the Sandford moorings has been resurfaced and this has increased the hard surfaced area to aid use during the winter months. Now that our improvement works at Sandford are complete the offside moorings there will be re-graded to the premium rate, and the towpath moorings to the standard rate, with effect from 1st February 2016.

A138 Chelmer viaduct
The Highways Agency’s work on this major project continues and the new viaduct and bridge is clearly evident. This has been achieved without any closure of the Navigation. We will keep you informed if a closure is required for demolition work on the old bridge.

Willows
2015 has seen a large number of willows cropped from along the Navigation for manufacture into cricket bats. This has included removal of willows from Sandford, Paper Mill and Hoe Mill where the familiar character of the moorings has been temporarily changed. The New Year will see us busy with a replanting programme. The sale of these willows is an important part of our income stream that will be spent upon maintaining the Navigation.    

Waterway Recovery Group
We have hosted several weekend volunteer work parties to undertake vegetation management at Beeleigh locks, Chapmans Bridge and above Paper Mill. We will be hosting a week long Canal Camp during February with volunteers carrying out tow path improvements.

Regular volunteers
We are grateful for the continued help from our regular volunteers with both maintenance work and other improvements and we are pleased to welcome several new volunteers.


Planned work  

Paper Mill Lock
Probably the busiest inland lock on the Navigation, the top gates here are in poor condition and both cills are leaking badly. We are therefore planning to install new top gates, repair the cills and overhaul the bottom gates during February and March 2016 with the lock reopening for Easter. A temporary bridge will be installed during the work to allow access to Paper Mill Island.

Hoe Mill Lock
The replacement of the bottom gates is now rescheduled for the winter of 2016/7.


Improvements

Several of the electricity card meters at the Heybridge Basin moorings have become unreliable. As replacement card meters are no longer available, these are being replaced by read meters and customers will be charged for electricity used by the issue of invoices.  Where such meters are used, customers will be able to padlock their own supply to the meter so they can be sure of not paying for someone else’s use of their electricity.  From 1st January 2016, electricity will be charged at a rate of 10.12 pence per unit for the electricity plus a 3p per unit service charge as a contribution towards costs of laying on the supply and administration.  This remains cheaper than most marinas.


Users Meeting   

Our Annual Users Meeting will be held on Tuesday 23rd February at Langford and Ulting Village Hall, B1019 Maldon Road, Langford (opposite the Museum of Power). The meeting will start at 7.30 pm and conclude by 9.30 pm. This year our presentation will be different as it will illustrate many of the repairs and improvements that have been made during our ten years of operating the Navigation. Please join us to celebrate our anniversary and raise any issues or suggestions you may have as we start our next ten years!


Staff

We are pleased to welcome Lee Rowley as Residential Caretaker to join Sue Clift at Paper Mill.

Reminders

Electricity Connections
Please see the appendix pdf concerning safe connection and disconnection of shore electricity supplies to your craft.  This applies to all boaters at all locations if you use any electricity supply from off the vessel itself.

Parking
Customers using our car parks are reminded of the requirement to display an Essex Waterways parking sticker on their vehicle and to close and lock gates where these are provided in order to prevent unauthorised use. Stickers are available at our Paper Mill and Heybridge Basin offices. We will be especially monitoring the Heybridge Basin quayside parking where vehicles not displaying our sticker will be liable to a sizable parking fee from outside contractors in our attempt to prevent unauthorised parking here.   

Lock use
The locks on the Navigation are over 200 years old and they are all scheduled as listed buildings. They are also the subject of our major repair expenditure. Please treat them with respect and operate them in accordance with our written lock instructions. There are good and proven reasons for these. Please ensure that locks are always left full after use and both top paddles are left half open (one up and one down is not acceptable).

Navigation
You are reminded of the 4 mph speed limit and the need to travel even slower past moored boats to avoid the creation of wash. At this time of year when there are few boats moving please avoid the temptation to increase your speed.

Boat names
We still have boats that do not have their name clearly displayed and some that still show an old name when they have been registered with a new name. It is a condition of the mooring agreement that the correct boat name should be clearly displayed.

Rubbish
Please do not put rubbish on our bonfire sites. Our ability to burn vegetation waste is subject to a licence from the Environment Agency, who carry out regular inspections. We are not allowed to burn boaters’ rubbish, any plastic or treated or painted timber. Placing such items on our bonfire sites could result in us receiving a heavy fine, which would be passed on to the offending culprits.    

Emergency phone
Please note that this is provided for out of hours emergencies only.  An emergency is a state of danger requiring immediate attention or something that has happened unexpectedly with potentially serious consequences and needs to be dealt with straight away. It is not for reporting routine maintenance matters, requests for electric cards or out-of-hours discussions. For these matters please use the usual office hours phone numbers, or send us an e-mail.

Thefts
We have been made aware of a series of thefts targeting rural businesses with tools and equipment in the area. This is also the time of year when outboard motors are often stolen from marinas and moorings. Please protect your belongings, remove motors if possible or take the outboard cowling home and replace it with a temporary cover and hide or remove all valuable items. Please keep a watch out for anything suspicious and report it.


Social Scene

You are always welcome to The Inland Waterways Association Chelmsford Branch social meetings. These are held at Moulsham Mill, Parkway, Chelmsford CM2 7PX (between the B&M Store and Army & Navy roundabout). 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start, plenty of parking and refreshments available.

14th January - ‘A tale of two Camps’ – Steve Morley will talk about the work of Waterway Recovery Group.
11th February - ‘North Walsham & Dilham Canal 1826 – 2026 – an update’ – Ivan Cane returns with an update.
10th March -  ‘The Good Life’ a talk full of humour about moving from the town to country and setting up a small holding – Peter Webb.
14th April - TBA
12th May - TBA  


Contact Us 

Heybridge Lockkeeper, Grant Everiss 07712 079764, grant.everiss@waterways.org.uk
Mooring and Fisheries Manager,  Hugh Turner 07910 558465, hugh.turner@waterways.org.uk
Moorings Administrator, Christine Walsh 01494 783453  ext 612, christine.walsh@waterways.org.uk

Essex Waterways Ltd. Out of hours Emergency No. 07968 020554

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