Canal Boats: The Last Option For Affordable Living In London Is Causing Problems

One issue most people who live in the center of metropolitan cities encounter is rising prices. Whether it’s the United States, Canada, Europe, or any other country, people who live in apartments or rent houses can identify with the displeasure they feel when the monthly payment increases annually. The Inquisitr reported on news associated with rent, in which nine individuals had no fault in their stars when they were able to purchase high-class apartments for $10 each. Seattle, on the other hand, recognized the need for cheaper living digs for lower-income families and won’t stand by idly in hopes of sheer luck to help such individuals. Instead, the housing market was flooded with thousands of micro-apartments for such people who needed them.

The above cases are by circumstance or by the ebb and flow of business, but people will continually look for ways to find affordable living conditions in the wake of increasing rent prices in association to lower pay. Citizens in London may have found such a way by choosing to live in another dwelling that floats calmly on the waters of man-made streams: canal boats. Unfortunately, the increase in canal boat living is causing a whole mess of new problems.

Canal Boats

According to the Guardian, the number of canal boats have increased exponentially in association with soaring prices on houses and rent. Though such a living sacrifices time for maintenance and upkeep, it reaps rewards financially. Emily Morus-Jones, a 28-year-old woman who is looking for a way into the entertainment business, gave a general perspective on canal boat living.

“If you are the kind of person who likes creature comforts, it is definitely not for you. If you like earthy people, you will enjoy it a lot.”

Seems like a lot of give and take for the canal boat residents, but it is also taking away from everyone else. Those living on the water describe canal boaters as inconsiderate neighbors. Leisure boaters state that the increase of boats (about 3,000) now chasing a mooring point (about 2,000) results in a shortage of places to stop. Overstaying at mooring points is also an issue, since permanent mooring points may cost a five-figure sum. As a matter of fact, canal boat residents satisfy the continuous cruising requirements stipulated in their licenses by journeying a few hundred yards. This won’t do anything for the leisure boaters either.

Hilary Norris, a resident who lives on a flat with her partner Steve, talked about how inconsiderate the canal boaters are who moor near them.

“The waterways are meant for free flowing of traffic. If they are stagnant with what appears to be a floating bungalow site out there, other boats can’t get past. A great number of people are affected by noise, air and water pollution. It’s the sheer number of boats which is the problem. So we wish to limit the boats to one line of mooring to minimize the effect.”

As a comparison, Hilary Norris described that a new village needed to follow guidelines, and that the residents on the canals have none to truly follow.

“If they were to build a new village of 1,000-plus homes, they’d have to follow very strict guidelines concerning the environment. Allowing this number of boats to moor along here is the equivalent, but we have no planning, no infrastructure, and the impact is huge.”

The lack of planning and infrastructure has been recognized by the Canal and River Trust, according to an article by the TheNew York Times. Sorwar Ahmed, the boater liaison manager for the Canal and River Trust, made a statement on the situation.

“This is a cause of concern for us, as there is growing pressure on facilities as the numbers of boats using them rises. The system just wasn’t designed to hold so many boats.”

Sorwar Ahmed’s statement is valid because the canals were originally built for trade over 200 years ago. As time went by, land transportation took the place of canal transportation, resulting in the canals being used mostly for leisure. It was never taken into account that the canals would become an option for residence.

Now that you’ve read the article on how canal boat residents are causing problems for others, what do you think? What should be the best action taking for such a situation?

[Images via The Guardian and Alamy]