BW cause popular narrowboat café to close

Published: Thursday, 06 August 2009
REALISING the success of Lorraine Fox's venture with a narrowboat café, British Waterways have now put it out to tender, closing her down.

Lorraine brought new life to a neglected stretch of waterway at Angel, on the Regents Canal with her narrowboat café, the Sandwich Barge, brightening up the desolate towpath at City Road Basin, serving tea and cakes, but BW realised how popular it was so has decided the mooring must go out to business tender.

It means ex-catering worker Lorraine, could lose her mooring should someone offer a higher tender. And though her customers have started a campaign launched this week to urge BW to keep her there, there is little hope of that happening.

She has already spent £7,000 on the business, borrowing most of the money from family and friends., with alterations and renovations to the boat done by her supporters.

Lorraine states:

"It feels as if BW are cashing in on my success. I've done all the groundwork and now they want someone else with more money."

Del Brenner, Chairman of Regent's Canal Network and a member of the Mayor's Thames and Waterways Steering Group, told of his opinion of BW:

"It sounds as if they want to stamp on this business because they can't bear the thought of not making enough money out of it. BW is a navigational authority and totally inept in the way they deal with business."

Gareth Stephens, leisure business manager at British Waterways, explained:

"A competitive tender process was underway to choose a suitable operator, with the aim of establishing a long-term trading agreement."