'˜It almost left me homeless': Boat owner hits out at council over illegal mooring dispute

A MAN who has been battling Gosport Borough Council over the mooring of his boat says he's been '˜let down' by the authorities.

Friday, 16th February 2018, 6:00 am
Ray Langwell who is in a running battle with Gosport Borough Council over the illegal mooring of his boat at The Hardway in Gosport. Picture Ian Hargreaves (181099-1)

Builder Raymond Langwell, 39, appeared in court earlier this month for leaving his boat, Catchphrase, moored in Hardway for weeks.

He admitted to five charges of breaking the two-hour mooring limit – after leaving the boat tied up on the pontoon – as well as one charge of leaving his van on the public slipway.

He was fined £180, with a victim surcharge of £30 and £300 for council costs, but says he had no other option after his van was taken by the council, with his tools inside.

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Mr Langwell said that although he was keen to work, circumstances meant he was forced out of business, with fears of ending up out on the streets.

Despite now getting his tools back, Mr Langwell says the council let him down with the delays in returning them.

He said: ‘The council took my van at the end of May last year, due to parking fines tolled up from a previous owner.

‘I had only had the van a couple of weeks when it was taken, with all the tools as well.

‘I live on my boat and have been living in marinas for the most part – but having been forced out of business I had no choice but to park up at Hardway.

‘I haven’t caused any trouble here and it isn’t a particularly busy slipway, but the council still came after me about it.

‘To be out of work has been very frustrating – I like to be a productive member of society and I simply couldn’t do that without my tools.’

To get his tools back, Mr Langwell needed to send proof that the vehicle was his to Gosport Borough Council.

A spokesman said: ‘Mr Langwell had been unable to produce evidence that the vehicle was his.

‘If he can visit the town hall with a document proving the vehicle was his, then we’ll be happy to let him have the tools.’

Mr Langwell got his tools back on Wednesday night, after finally providing documentation.

The council requires physical copies of documents, rather than the scanned copies previously provided by Mr Langwell.

He said: ‘I just want to get back into the world of work as soon as I can, and feel as though this could all have been prevented.

‘I do feel a bit let down by the council – this has dragged on for quite some time now and almost left me homeless.

‘It has been an incredibly stressful time.’