Houseboat occupants in West London are claiming 'harassment' by the local council who are attempting to evict the boat dwellers it says are illegally moored.


Occupants of a community of houseboats in Brentford, in West London, are claiming Hounslow Council ordered their electricity to be cut off without warning as part of an ongoing attempt by the council to evict the group.

The occupants told a local website that they have contracted lawyers to dispute an eviction notice issued by the council on Friday, 5 February, which requires the boat dwellers to remove their vessels. The notice cites that the boat dwellers have been moored on the site illegally.

The council action is part of a plan to ready Watermans Park for a proposed revitalisation development that includes a new marina.

A statement from the council’s website said: “Hounslow Council has always planned to regularise the moorings in this location. There has long been concerns voiced and complaints from those with legitimate moorings that it is not fair that some of the boaters at Watermans Park have continued to moor without paying any mooring fees. In addition, many of the boats are sub-standard and an eyesore.”

Stephen Alexander, who owns and lives on one of the houseboats moored there, told “We were fairly shocked when the electricity was cut off with no warning … Two of the boats rely on pumps to keep them afloat. One was pretty much on its way down by the time the electricity was restored.”

Alexander said he was aware the eviction notice required a response within seven days and that the electricity cut came on Monday, 8 February, during the wind and rain brought by Storm Imogen.

The boat owner said electricity was restored by 9pm that evening after he and others complained to the Southern Electric power company.

Alexander said his lawyers had written a letter of complaint requesting no further “harassment” from the council and plans to present alternative development plans for the area. He said the group will also assert their right to remain moored at the site in court based on a 30-year history of accessing their boats by climbing over a park wall.

A spokeswoman for Hounslow Council said the council are following up with Southern Electric to investigate the cause of the power outage and will have no comment on the matter until the cause has been determined.

Related links: 

East Cowes marina developers reveal £200m masterplan

New Falmouth marina proposed at Custom House Quay



  • Shane Kennedy

    Houseboats tend to be eyesores BECAUSE their owners are insecure. If they had security of tenure, they would be much more inclined to keep them looking well.
    EU Human Rights states that ANY intrusion on the individual, must be within the law AND be in pursuit of a pressing social need. A person is also entitled to respect for his home, his privacy, and his communications. THEN, the principle of proportionality must be applied. Where houseboats have been berthed for decades, the civil administration should plan around them, not through them. However, if the council are providing services, and I don’t mean just a bit of riverbank, it is fair that those services should be paid for … at the same rate as any other residence. I live on an old minesweeper in Ireland. I grew up on an ex-Bristol Channel barge, that having been my home until I left home. I am currently defying an order to move. The council say that a boat, in a harbour, needs planning permission !

  • mikekent

    A Councils main purpose in life is that whatever you are doing then we want to stop you even if we do not know what you are doing. They are a bunch of negative clerks who have stopped moorings every where even on old wharves.
    These people have homes on these boats and if the council makes them intentionally homeless then the council must be held responsible. By the Council I mean the Officers or Clerks of the council not the council tax payers who usually have to pay for council failures.
    Where ever there are houseboats there must be standards of appearance, 4 year surveys, insurance, black waste disposal etc. The owners must be seen to be proud of their ships. Let us start from that premise and not just be negative about a group of people who want to live a different lifestyle which I for one prefer!