Residents protest against "eyesore" in Blackwall basin

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Residents living alongside the Blackwall Basin have branded a collection of barges and a steel pontoon, moored in its waters for the past 14 months, an "eyesore".

Angry Richard Gosling, who lives in the Jamestown Harbour development, has been leading the charge for the removal of the vessels, which were re-located to the basin from South Dock more than a year ago.

He accused the Canal and River Trust, formerly British Waterways, of "dumping" what he believes are rusting boats into the waters of the Grade I listed basin, metres from his home.

He said: "It is a positive disgrace. The boats should never have been brought in. Initially, they were going to be moved last Christmas, then we were promised they would be moved before the Olympics.

"Then it [the Canal and River Trust] said it couldn't move them in October - it hasn't made any effort."

He pointed the finger at Tower Hamlets Borough Council too, claiming it was a breach of planning law - which is disputed.

He said: "It's disgraceful the council has totally ignored this. It tells me it has had discussions with the Canal and River Trust and nothing has transpired - the council is very reluctant.

"It's just a shocking eyesore on what is a beautiful, Grade I listed basin and a very important part of Docklands heritage."

A spokeswoman for the Canal and River Trust said the vessels had been moved into Blackwall Basin due to construction work at Wood Wharf.

She said: "We are not in breach of planning permission - the barges are moored up alongside a Grade I listed wall but are not causing any damage or alteration to the structure.

"In fact, these are working docks and have always been busy with boats.

"The pontoons are regularly used throughout the docks for construction works, and one of the pontoons is currently being used at Wood Wharf."

"We are looking into options to dispose of the barges."

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council added: "The Canal and River Trust is able to moor barges in the canal and basin as long as this is associated with the proper use of the canal for the charity's specific purposes."