New Boater-led Boat Maintenance Services at Stonebridge Lock

3 October 2018

The Canal & River Trust is letting boaters know about its plans for Stonebridge Lock. Following a significant amount of work, much coming from the community, to improve the area, a boater-based social enterprise will now use the site to provide a new boat maintenance yard.

The aim is for Stonebridge to become a hub for the boating community, providing the services most needed by boaters. The new venture will focus on the smaller “in-water” repairs and maintenance which affects many boat owners. This will initially include Boat Safety Scheme Examinations and associated repairs, servicing, and gas works, as well as tuition in boat handling and engine servicing. With a call for more waste services in the area, the team is also planning on introducing a ‘Bins by Boat’ service similar to that previously trialled in Paddington.

The team intends to collaborate with boaters and will be attending community events and holding open days to meet local boaters and hear their ideas.

Sorwar Ahmed, senior boater liaison manager at the Canal & River Trust said: “This is great news for both the local community at Stonebridge, and for boaters exploring the Capital. Since the former pub on the site was demolished for safety reasons, we have been keen to bring the area back into use and for it to support the spirit and vibrancy of the community. This new boater-led boat maintenance yard will provide a fantastic service to the boating community and comes with a commitment to work together to make things better.

“The London Mooring Strategy consultation identified the need for several improvements in facilities, and we hope that this positive re-activation of the site will go some way to reducing issues faced by boaters. There will be qualified professionals onsite at all times which we believe will help to keep the existing facilities in a better state of repair.

“We are also adding to our commitment to boaters by providing a managed oil bund, so boaters can dispose of waste oil in an environmentally friendly way, and we will be re-designing the facilities compound to improve waste and recycling services.

“Stonebridge Lock has gradually been improving, thanks to the dedication of Steve in the café, the boaters who live in and visit the area, the Stonebridge Lock Coalition, members of the wider local community, and the Trust’s volunteer lock keepers and staff amongst others. We’d like to thank everyone who gives up their time to help look after the area and bring activity and vitality to this special place.”

In 2018 Stonebridge won the Trust’s internal awards in 2018 for Community Activity, for the transformation of a heavily vandalised area on the River Lee with the highest repair bills of any operational property on the waterways into a busy community hub enjoyed by local people. Last year, the Trust secured a £12,000 grant from the Tesco Bags of Help programme, which involved the charity Action for Kids and a range of local partners in building an edible garden and terrace next to the café, and converting an empty room into a volunteer welfare and training space. The Tottenham Marshes Fete and the Apple Day also brought hundreds of people to the area to enjoy the river and the marshes.

The Trust is keen to work with local people and organisations to improve the look and feel of the area over the longer term. There have been discussions about various ‘adoptions’ of the towpath and surrounding area to involve local people in voluntary activity to keep the towpath, lock-side and navigation clean and healthy.

If you’d like to get involved in looking after Stonebridge Lock, please contact: [email protected]