Canal & River Trust outlines new era for Paddington Basin


10 March 2017
The Canal & River Trust is announcing a raft of new projects to transform the waterspace in London’s Paddington Basin into an exciting hub for boaters, residents, workers and visitors.
Hire boats, a water taxi, an information boat and floating café, the Floating Pocket Park and additional trade and visitor moorings to maintain capacity for boaters will bring the water to life and people to the water while generating essential income to look after the capital’s canals and rivers.
Jon Guest, London waterway manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “The new additions to Paddington Basin are tremendously exciting and offer people a whole host of new ways to explore the water – whether it’s having a go on a boat, taking some time out on the floating park or finding out more about the area at an information boat.
“The canal in Paddington has seen a lot of changes over the years, from its heyday in the 1800s as a hub of freight activity to dereliction and dumping grounds in the latter half of the 20th century.  Now we’re in a new era for the waterways and the Canal & River Trust is aiming to make them the best places they can be for boaters, for the people who live and work by them, and for those who come to visit.  We need to bring people to the water so they can be inspired, and help us keep our canals and rivers open for generations to come.”

GoBoat, a Copenhagen-based boat hire company with a difference, will be introducing their first boats to the UK in Paddington Basin, with investment from the Paddington Partnership.  The boats are powered by electric engines and built from sustainable materials, seat up to eight people and have a maximum speed of 4mph.  The boats are available for anyone to hire to explore Paddington, Camden and Little Venice by water.  With comprehensive instructions given to all hirers, it provides a fantastic opportunity for a whole new audience to enjoy the water safely.
GoBoat will operate from two moorings on the pontoons at the end of the basin with two new visitor moorings being created on the opposite side of the basin.  GoBoats will be available to hire from the spring.

Water Taxi
GoBoat will also be running a free Water Taxi two days a week to take passengers from under Bishop’s Road Bridge by Paddington Station to Little Venice and to Merchant Square.  If the service proves popular then the Water Taxi will become a permanent feature.  This is another chance to encourage residents, workers and visitors alike to get afloat.

Information centre and floating café
Two new business boats will be arriving in the basin in May and will be a great stop-off for people leaving Paddington Station’s Hammersmith & City Line exit.  The first boat will provide information about the history of Paddington Basin and its regeneration, as well as running a small gift shop and coffee outlet.  The second boat will be a floating café run by the small Aussie-style coffee and brunch independent, Beany Green, serving coffee, brunch, salads, cocktails and more.
British Land was awarded the tender for the two business moorings in November 2014 and the company has begun carrying out the necessary work to install electricity bollards and water points.  Boaters will be able to continue mooring at the spots until the British Land boats arrive on site.

Floating Pocket Park
A temporary Floating Pocket Park has been designed to breathe new life into the water space at the far end of Paddington Basin and connect local communities.  The space, which has been unused and originally reserved for business barges, will host 730 square metres of open lawn areas, dense planting and communal seating, as well as a spot for trade boats. The floating park is being created by European Land and Property Limited who lease the waterspace from the Trust.  It is anticipated that work on the park will start in March for opening later in the spring.
Jon continues: “We’re making sure we keep plenty of space for visiting boats so boaters from across the capital and the country can moor up in the heart of things.  The plans at Paddington Basin are informed by our London Mooring Strategy, which we’re developing to manage our waterways in the capital for the benefit of all users.”