Hambleden Lock

thamesS23

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30 Jan 2006
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I am not going to post full details on here, but having just heard some news related to Hambleden Lock and it's excellent lock keeper, I am disgusted by the EA !!

Simon is one of the best lock keepers I have come across on the Thames, and for him to be treated like this, really shocks me. I'm sure that most people who know him will or offer him all the support he needs.

Feel free to PM if you need more details.
 

Old Crusty

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Whatever the merits or otherwise of the case, it's an internal matter that no boater can influence.

Nobody can deny that Simon has had his awkward, work-related moments like we all have but note, the EA has history of poorly framed disciplinary cases that fail due to the lack of hard evidence. In recent years, some keepers have been in the spotlight merely for being non-conformist or disliked by the local team leader.
 

oldgit

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Similar situation here locally a while ago. ???
Local boaters were 100% behind the Lockie concerned, other staff members privately told a different story.
The case was protracted and went to appeal.
EA case was eventually upheld.
 

Cashbuyer

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4 Feb 2010
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Wow. The Thames has lock keepers? Who knew?
I never see them. Only plenty of signs saying ‘ Self service’ even on a sunny July weekend...
 

ianc1200

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Frinton on Sea
Steve (who does the moorings at Henley) passed on a message from Simon which I'm guessing several of us received, but a request not to share on social media. I got on really well with him, so we send a letter in support. But as a Thames user related issue, the problem was about the pop up bar just by the upper lock moorings. I said to him a few days before it was a recipe for chaos. There's zillions of the open motorised boats out on a sunny day at Henley, and to have a bar next to the lock lay-by on a Bank Holiday Monday was a disaster waiting to happen. I wasn't on the river, but I'm guessing Simon was left to sort it out himself without any help. From a Thames users POV, surely trying to ensure the same thing doesn't happen again at Henley or elsewhere should be very important.
 

Old Crusty

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Who sanctioned and gave permission for the the pop up bar?
Hi John, the bar restaurant was on Copas property so an agreement would have been in place.

The operation requires a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003. The EA is not a statutory consultee under the terms of the LA 2003 but is an 'Interested Party' as, I suggest, may be boaters who were inconvenienced by the customers of this restaurant, namely clogging the layby and swimming in the lock cut.

Interested parties may submit 'representations' to the licensing authority, in this case, Wokingham BC, if its activities contravene any of the four licensing objectives that include public safety and the prevention of public nuisance. Imagine if hundreds of boaters complained that the customers moored boats prevented navigating boaters from accessing the layby to transit the lock. However, in the first instance, the EA would've needed to know about this pop up and I'm told it did not.

Looking at the nature of the restaurant operator, he is a communications/PR schmoozer so would know how to construct a well crafted complaint.

You know my background in pub licensing and I'm seeking advice from a licensing barrister chum. More on that later.
 
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Big John

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Hi John, the bar restaurant was on Copas property so an agreement would have been in place.

The operation requires a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003. The EA is not a statutory consultee under the terms of the LA 2003 but is an 'Interested Party' as, I suggest, may be boaters who were inconvenienced by the customers of this restaurant, namely clogging the layby and swimming in the lock cut.

Interested parties may submit 'representations' to the licensing authority, in this case, Wokingham BC, if its activities contravene any of the four licensing objectives that include public safety and the prevention of public nuisance. Imagine if hundreds of boaters complained that the customers moored boats prevented navigating boaters from accessing the layby to transit the lock. However, in the first instance, the EA would've needed to know about this pop up and I'm told it did not.

Looking at the nature of the restaurant operator, he is a communications/PR schmoozer so would know how to construct a well crafted complaint.

You know my background in pub licensing and I'm seeking advice from a licensing barrister chum. More on that later.
Thanks Jim for your, as usual, informative reply.
 

Outinthedinghy

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18 May 2008
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Limehouse hole
It was a ridiculous place to put a pop up bar. On more than one occasion I came downstream to find the layby completely blocked by small day boats none of which were going though the lock.

I've done it before so it was not a problem for me to secure to the steamer piles and get off on the other side but that is not all that easy for someone with less experience or a larger (or smaller) boat.

It's completely ridiculous that a lock keeper would end up in this position when he is just doing his job of keeping the lock area safe for boats moving up and down the waterway.

I can't really believe it and have to wonder if there is something more to this story.
 

Old Crusty

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Setting aside Simon's predicament for a moment, I have discussed the matter of the danger, disruption and nuisance to river users and the resident keeper. Me learned friend confirms that the restaurant operation has most likely contravened or caused there to be contraventions of all four licensing objectives that are:
  • the prevention of crime and disorder (disregard for the TCA & byelaws).
  • public safety (blocking the layby so boaters were unable to disembark safely to transit through the lock & people in the water).
  • the prevention of public nuisance (blocking the layby, late night revellers disturbing Simon & his family).
  • the protection of children from harm (allowing kids to swim in the lock cut).
All of this did not exist before the restaurant was established and so it is the cause of the problem. The pop up now closed and the site cleared, However, it could return and so any evidence, written testimony, photos, video clips of the moored boats, people in the river, misconduct, would be very helpful to apply to have the premises licence reviewed in arrears, if possible. If anyone has such evidence, please DM it to me and I will be happy to collate it and prepare the review application.

I am incensed that this affair has led to the dismissal of a lock & weir keeper with 29 years service for doing his job in very difficult circumstances, with no apparent support from his manager or other managers within the EA. Something smells fishy in the house of the EA and those who have complained.
 

Portland Billy

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31 Aug 2009
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The EA 'management' need to do some explaining.
Do any of them use this forum?, it would be good to get their perspective.
 

Old Crusty

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The EA 'management' need to do some explaining.
Do any of them use this forum?, it would be good to get their perspective.
Don't hold your breath, it's an EA internal matter that won't be discussed on social media by any EA staff nor are they accountable to anyone outside the organisation.

Thus forum used to be monitored by the EA's part time PR Comms jockey but he may have other duties now..
 
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