DEVIZES Mayor Nigel Carter is pushing Wiltshire Council and the Canal & River Trust to remove unlicensed boats from the Wharf in Devizes.

He has written to both bodies to complain that several boats are moored in the town without the correct licence and little is being done to remove them.

In a letter to the trust about one particular yacht which he says has been moored there for two years he said: “The stay is one of unprecedented length and is causing unrest among other licence holders who feel that their potential use of the Wharf is being denied unfairly.

“If the owner requires, for any reason, an extended stay for health reasons, then there are other convenient berthing spots on the opposite of the canal.”

He also complained about two boats without engines that are also moored at the Wharf. In his letter he said: “Apart from being a target for regeneration, the Wharf even now is one of the jewels in Devizes’ crown.

“Neither of these three vessels add anything to the slender glamour of this area of the Wharf, are an eyesore from the opposite bank and the focus of any licensed narrow-boat owners who feel that any entitlement to moor by the Wharf for the legitimate three days allowed, is denied them by ‘chancers’.”

Mr Carter’s complaints coincide with consultation by Wiltshire Council over ways to make the Wharf more attractive and to attract more visitors.

In response The Canal & River Trust said: “Nationally, every effort is made to encourage licence holders to comply with the terms of their licence and adhere to the individual mooring restrictions in popular areas. “Dedicated data checkers patrol the length of the canal on a regular basis, and vessels in breach of the rules are sent an initial warning letter. If this letter is disregarded, then warnings are escalated, and legal proceedings may commence if a non-compliant boat refuses to move.”

A Wiltshire Council countryside officer also replied to Mr Carter saying: “My advice has been to property services that as owners of the wharf Wiltshire Council should serve notice on the owner of the vessel.”

Earlier this summer the Canal & River Trust did lift a small blue boat out of the water at The Wharf over licensing issues to the upset of members of the Kennet & Avon Boating Action Group who said the owner was vulnerable and had not received support.

Live aboard boaters have also staged a number of protests about what they claim are draconian measures taken by the Canal & River Trust.

Its next meeting will be on October 9 at 7.30pm in the function room at the Bell By The Green, Estcourt Street, Devizes.