Sunday, 5 April 2015

Coffee Boat

I am convinced that narrowboat craft like 'coffee boats' are a good idea. Especially if, like the Canal and River Trust, you want to draw increasing numbers of visitors to the inland waterways. The ideal locations for mooring such craft are where there is ample parking space for visitors who will want to hang about for longer after enjoying a walk. The location will need to be placed where there is ease of access to and from the boat. 

A study around the canals would turn up hundreds of such prime locations. Especially where the canals pass through our town and city centres. Recently, we came across such a vessel moored up in the centre of Lincoln near the 'Glory Hole'. Which in itself is a feature that attracts many visitors to the canal.  Here there was no need for the provision of car parking or toilet facilities because both are provided and managed by the city. Visitors on the nearby city centre pedestrian walkways, also provide a good trade base from passing footfall.

A great deal of care needs to be taken when identifying a food and drink retail mooring site. If visitors on the towpath are to be drawn to take advantage of such opportunities. Locations will need to sited where there are toilet facilities nearby. Where there is room for additional external seating capacity, which can be quickly utilised for any unexpected increase of visitor numbers that may arrive, especially when combined with good weather. 

There will also be additional regulations such as planning permission required from local authorities. Regulations such as hygienic food preparation, trading standards and effects upon the visual amenity such as at heritage sites. Conforming with such issues will form part of identifying the ideal mooring locations. 

There are other issues equally as important when making that choice. Boaters will not want to see existing moorings undergoing a change of purpose. Such as a changing from a visitor mooring to commercial moorings. Reducing what is already known in many places to be a limited capacity that comes under even more pressure in the popular weeks of the boating season. There will be a need to consult with boaters with moorings in the vicinity to gather their local knowledge of issues for selecting a location.

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