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Residential Moorings

Residential moorings can bring vitality to waterspace, providing an attractive focal point to complement land-based development and offering an appealing lower-impact lifestyle. They are subject to particular regulations, consents, licensing arrangements and require careful management. Our services include:


  • Feasibility, scoping and commercial viability, based on robust market analysis

  • Site-specific design, lay-out and specification

  • Planning permission, regulations, licences and other consents

  • Marketing and pricing

  • Site management and operation including customer contracts

Residential mooring site development and management

Madge Bailey managed the London Canals mooring portfolio for the Canal and River Trust which included a diverse range of residential mooring sites from small linear moorings to serviced marina berths. Management of these sites required clarity on licence terms, market-based pricing, customer service standards and maintenance contracts. She also delivered new residential moorings at various locations across London. She now advises operators and individuals.

Feasibility assessment for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

We assessed a site for potential residential moorings, consulting the Port of London Authority, planners and local stake-holders, producing layouts and considering commercial and operational issues.  We also supported the planning pre-application enquiry. 

Recommendations for the Port of London Authority’s River Works Licences for residential use

We undertook a comprehensive review of the Port of London Authority’s River Works Licences for residential use on the tidal Thames.  We worked with the Valuation Office Agency and a steering group comprising representatives of the PLA and houseboat community. During the two-year review, we researched the London residential mooring market, examined how other UK port and navigation authorities charge for works licences, sought an independent legal opinion on the Port of London Act and ran a public consultation with licensees and houseboat residents. Our report made recommendations for the licence charges, dispute resolution and phasing the implementation, including an impact analysis. The Port of London Authority adopted the recommendations and continues to use the charging methodology. Further information here.

Residential mooring policy, Canal and River Trust

As national project manager at the Canal and River Trust, Madge Bailey examined the issue of residential moorings (and living afloat without consent) in depth with a range of stakeholders from directors and enforcement staff to planners and boaters. She distilled the principal issues and developed the Trust’s:

  • national policy and a strategy for its implementation 

  • residential mooring site guidelines aimed at site developers and local authority planners, based on national research into boaters’ demand and preferences for residential moorings on the canals

  • guidance on unauthorised residential use and dealing with local authority planning enforcement

Residential mooring pricing and contracts

We have undertaken market-based reviews of mooring fees for a range of sites in London including marinas and smaller sites, along with a comprehensive review of service charges for several clients.  We undertook a rent review of land and associated residential moorings, including clarifying the rights of the different parties. We provided advice to a rural landowner establishing leisure and residential moorings, including options for mooring fees, a draft mooring agreement and support with the planning application.  We have advised individuals across London about their mooring licence and successfully concluded mooring agreements to ensure the interests and rights of both parties were suitably represented. 

Advisory document “Residential Use of Waterways

Madge Bailey was one of the principal contributors to the advisory document “Residential Use of Waterways” by AINA, the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities. The document assessed the level of residential boating, the policies of the navigation authorities and set out the planning and regulatory framework, with supporting case studies.

Houseboat security of tenure - Government consultation

Madge Bailey led the representations of the Canal and River Trust during this government consultation. This required understanding the issue from the perspectives of both a navigation authority and a mooring operator, whilst taking account of its customers' issues. 

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