Boat-dweller compromise deal looks set for approval

HARTFORD Marina should gradually assume the holiday use for which it has planning consent after a compromise between planners and people who own floating home there.

The deal, which is expected to be noted by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel on Monday, will mean anyone occupying the 15 houseboats and nine floating lodges in the north-west corner of the site on August 22 this year will be able to apply for a personal consent to live in it full-time.

But, when the boat changes hands, the planning consent will revert to holiday use only, meaning it cannot be used as the new owner’s sole or main residence.

The remainder of the site has a 1965 planning permission for use as a ‘boat mooring station’.

Although the floating homes’ permanent occupation has been unauthorised, owners will not now risk enforcement action, as they would have done if the compromise had not been brokered.

But it does mean that, because a future owner will have to comply with the holiday-use-only consent, the resale value of the boats is likely to be affected.

The deal will not be available to owners of cruising boats. Nor will it apply to occupation of flats at the marina.

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Nor would the restriction apply to owners who can prove their berths have been lived on continuously for more than 10 years and who successfully apply for a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’.

But the council’s planners believe relatively few owners will be able to make out such a case.