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Luxury flat owners’ horror as Regents Canal boats moor up outside their homes

PUBLISHED: 14:37 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:33 22 May 2012

Francis Loney outside his home in Quebec Wharf where the barges suddenly appeared

Francis Loney outside his home in Quebec Wharf where the barges suddenly appeared

Carmin Valino on shift

Officers from Hackney Council are investigating a breach in planning, after a dozen houseboats suddenly moored up outside a block of luxury flats in the Kingsland Basin.

The narrowboats owned by the Canals in Hackney User Group (CHUG) have been at the west side of the basin just off the Regent’s Canal since 1983.

So property owners in the former spice factory Quebec Wharf were horrified to look out of their windows one day and find they had turned up unannounced, along with their floating allotment.

Fashion photographer and chair of the residents’ association Francis Loney is disappointed his privacy has been invaded and the tranquil view of the water he enjoyed has been obliterated by three lines of boats.

He also complained the boats are obstructing his right to moor outside his home.

“It is the equivalent of a camper van parked on your front lawn complete with family, except we have several of them,” he said.

“We just don’t want them here, because of the noise, overcrowding, proximity, they are a matter of inches away and we see them quite often, especially when they are hammering away.

“Our fears are they won’t go and the council won’t do anything about it.”

A spokeswoman from housing association L&Q, which owns the water and is CHUG’s landlord, said the boats have been temporarily relocated for around a month while the other end of the basin is being dredged, and initial work carried out to install a boardwalk.

“L&Q’s contractor wrote to residents in the area advising them of the project and the temporary arrangements that would be made,” she added.

Hannah Engelkamp said some boats will remain on the east side of the basin, but not in front of Quebec Wharf.

“We have lived and worked in Kingsland Basin for almost 30 years, and enjoy good rapport with our land-based neighbours who frequently attend our events and support CHUG in its various endeavours,” she said.

“As we have also explained to Francis, now that the building works are nearing their completion CHUG is working towards returning Kingsland Basin to the delightful, green & tranquil place it used to be.”

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said: “We will be issuing warning letters shortly with a view to taking action if the owner does not remedy the breach by removing the works or seeks to regularise the development,” said a spokeswoman from Hackney Council.

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