Roger Gunkel

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About Roger Gunkel

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  • Birthday 15/02/47

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  1. The sense of comradeship and sympathy on this forum for the the boaters who are shortly to be evicted has completely overwhelmed me I was driving home tonight when I came across this vehicle which had fun off the road and had hit a tree. A fire had started under the bonnet and the driver was fighting to free himself before he burned to death. A group of people watched from a safe distance commenting that the vehicle had probably been stolen. Someone else commented that the road tax appeared to be out of date and a further spectator theorised that the vehicle was probably not insured. A discussion was also going on about the driver maybe not having a licence and had crashed because he had no experience of the conditions. As the vehicle exploded in a ball of flame and the driver expired with a final scream, the group turned away muttering that it was a private road and they probably couldn't have done anything anyway. I apologise to those better informed members who know far more than me or the residents about the evictions, and will from now on mind my own business. Roger
  2. Hi Jesse, welcome to the forum and thanks for adding even more inside information to this thread. Congratulations on getting a new mooring at Isleham, I also know many people there and Isleham are members of my coal consortioum, where a large group of us buy our coal at wholesale direct from the suppliers. I first posted news on this forum of the evictions, as a lot of my friends and acquaintencies were affected and I wanted to highlight the injustice of it and lack of any respect and compassion for people and their lives. If nothing is done to make it difficult for the owners, it opens the door for others to feel they can do the same. What surprises me also, is that although there were a number of people who were as concerned as I on this forum, there were many who were more interested in doubting the detail of my original post, offering possible alternative explanations for the evictions rather than focussing on an issue that has so much impact on so many people. Inspite of me bringing this to the forum's attention and continuing to respond to posts and questions, It has been suggested that I should join the RBOA if I really want to help, although I have seen no evidence of any members here who are already in the RBOA offering to help. It has been suggested that I have exaggerated numbers because an ancient picture on Google Earth shows less boats, It has been suggested that residents have been evicted because of lack of planning permission- pure speculation. It was queried as being odd that nobody from the marina had said anything on the forum, so casting doubt on my report. Suggestions that people had refused to pay the surcharge so had been evicted as a result. Various other comments to suggest that maybe my report was one sided. Since then, three residents from the marina have now joined this forum all corroborating my original report and adding more detail, the doubters seem to have gone quiet rather than offering help and positive suggestions. There are people's lives being turned upside down with these evictions, people being treated as worthless, not just a few, but dozens! Many of the members of this forum are liveaboard boaters that could conceivably end up in the same situation, and it's about time some of them offered some real support rather than sitting at their keyboards looking for hyperthetical excuses, or telling me what I ought to be doing! Wake up and smell the coffee, before more of us start drowning in it : Roger PS sorry for the rant but I am angry
  3. Hi Happy Go Lucky and welcome to the forum (again) It's good to have another F&D resident joining, as it helps to publicise the way that you have all been treated and gives credibility to the reported information, which all seems very consistent. I don't know if we know each other, but you must have moved into the F&D marina the year after we took our mooring at Upware. I know Cootwatcher well, who has just joined the forum and a great many of the F&D residents. I sincerely hope that you can sort out the mess that you have been dropped into and get a mooring sorted out before the real Winter sets in. If there is anything that I can do to help, please feel free to email me by clicking on my profile image, which will open up the email facility. Roger
  4. In the context of this thread, does that actually matter Sue? Surely it is incumbent on the owners of the Marina to ensure that they are fulfilling the requirements for residential moorings. If a boater approaches a Marina and asks whether they have a residential mooring available, and they are told yes, they are not then going to ask to be shown legal papers to prove this, particularly if it is a well established and well known marina with a long history of liveaboard moorings. Surely taking money for the mooring is entering into a contract whether written or not. From another viewpoint, If the owners have been operating without permission for many years and have been challenged by the planning authorities then they should at least consult with the residents to discuss the problem with them. I would have also thought that in view of the high profile of the parent company and the fact that it is a very big employer and huge local landowner, would at least give it the power to discuss retrospective planning applications with the relevant authorities. The authorities would have at least given it some consideration rather than risking a sudden flood of homeless boaters. In view of the information from Cootwatcher and collaborating information that led to me posting in the first place, it does look as though this is a clear.move to get rid of liveaboards with the aim of theoretically maximising future profits from the marina. Roger
  5. Hi Cootwatcher and welcome to the forum It's good to have someone from Popes Corner Marina finally join the forum and give an on the spot report. I'm also pleased that you confirmed my reported details. Did I buy my Wind generator from you by the way? If so, it's great to see you pop up here and at least know who you are I also moved from Upware 3 weeks ago to an idyllic mooring from our point of view. Hope you stay and continue contributing to this excellent forum, and hope you get sorted out for a new mooring yourself. Roger
  6. Many people who buy solar panels haven't a clue as to what they actually need, as witnessed by many threads on this forum. A 60watt Maplins solar panel is not going to run a fridge, microwave and 40" TV, many people though seem to have the impression that any solar panel should be able to run everything and keep their batteries charged. As Julynian has already pointed out, you need to assess the amount of power that you actually use, before you can start working out how much solar you would need. It is then about using the available power in the most efficient way that you can, and not just using high power consumption domestic appliances as you would in a house. If you do want to use everything that you would when in a house using grid power, then even covering your entire boat roof in solar panels will still leave you short in the winter months. You'll then be the one with the solar panels who is still running his engine every day Roger
  7. My views are my own and I don't need to attribute them to anyone I do however acknowledge that I misinterpreted your post. I have also had difficult times and appreciated help on more than one occasion and am always willing to help when I can. I also don't define dubious people as those with shabby boats, rather those that exhibit malicious or anti social behaviour, whatever the condition of their boats. None of that is really relevant to the point of the thread though. Roger
  8. Norfolk Broads? Roger
  9. I spoke to the friend today who had just moved there and he does not expect to have any difficulty getting his money back. What he is annoyed about is that he had cancelled his BT line at the previous mooring, given up his private internet connection and made all the usual arrangements for address changes etc etc. he had also agreed to pay the surcharge , but now has managed to go back cap in hand to his previous mooring at Upware. He is one of the fortunate ones. A number of the current liveaboards had agreed to pay the surcharge and I don't have any information on whether any had refused or were just unhappy about it.on top of the 25% increase. Suggestions that people refused to pay the surcharge are forum speculation. The information that I have is that the owners may have found that there would be legal difficulties imposing the surcharge in the way that they had intended, so withdrew it themselves. As regards the Google Earth views, if you wish to base your opinion on what a photo a few years ago shows, then that is your choice. Personally I think that the information from those who live there now is likely to be somewhat more reliable. SueB, as I said before, I'm sure that RBOA do valuable work, but if I get involved in things, I prefer to get into it by direct action, not sitting around talking and sorting through paperwork, laudable though that may be. Boathunter, I understand what you are saying and I agree that there is always an element of run down boats and dubious people on many moorings. There may be a few boaters that the Popes Corner owners would prefer to get rid of for a number of reasons, but there are right and wrong ways of doing it. The most likely scenario is that the income from the 70 plus boats is not sufficient to justify the costs of making necessary improvements, maintaining the marina and making a profit to satisfy the owners. An upmarket marina with private lodges and monied people with expensive boats, potentially has a greater earning potential. Removing the requirements of liveaboards and their families also makes for more easily standardised moorings and an upmarket image. The reality however is likely to me much different. The leisure boat industry is struggling, people with nice cruisers and surplus money are not easy to find and are unlikely to want to put their boats in a comparatively inaccessible marina in the middle of the somewhat unglamorous Fens. There is also another element to this, which is that it is difficult to secure a site such as that. In an area like the Fens, glossy unattended boats are going to attract undesirables and there has already been a spate of thefts and boat break-ins in the last couple of weeks at Ely Cathedral marina, which is in the middle of the city. Havinge liveaboards in a marina is a great security boost as they do tend to keep a lookout and are familiar with who should be there. With a bit of forethought and compassion, the owners could have staggered a cost increase preceded by reasonable notification to the moorers. This could have been following a discussion period with the berth holders to explain the intended changes and point out the need for them to move off the moorings for a given period while improvements were made. There could also have been a new code of requirements for liveaboard moorers, coupled to a residential charge or higher rate in return for a guarantee of full residential status for the paid time period. People never like having to pay more, but it could all have been done in a much more sympathetic way to giving a more pleasant environment for the boaters and a greater return for the owners. Roger
  10. It is very easy to put your own interpretation on the facts which is what happens when a long thread develops and people forget some of the detail. My information from 3 of the residents is that there are 75 boats on the marina of which 62 are liveaboards. I haven't verified this personally, but trust the information from those on the marina. One friend of mine moved from Upware marina to Popes Corner 3 weeks ago having arranged for his new liveaboard mooring directly with Davina and payed for a year in advance. Within 3 weeks he has now received the eviction notice, that to me shows a total lack of interest or compassion for people's lives. There is also a posted comment about 10 gypsy or engineless boats, again pure groundless speculation with no evidence to support that. By all means make a case for the owners, but please base it on known facts not speculation. The Fish & Duck website is spouting pure sales hype and is just an idea of what they intend to do, which backs up my original post stating that Davina wants a picturesque garden marina filled with pretty private luxury boats. There is also no mention of the fact that it has been made quite clear to existing berth holders that there will be no future provision for liveaboards. SueB also made a comment about me offering to Join the RBOA and get involved. Firstly I am not involved in the problems at Popes Corner but am concerned about the possible knock on effect to other marina residents. My own new mooring has no connection with any marina. Secondly, I have no particular interest in the RBOA as I consider it another discussion group with no more or less influence than this forum. I'm sure that it offers a great source of information for those considering boat living, but would be more impressed if it was more aggressively involved in some of the disputes and problems on the inland waterways. I believe that direct rallying of support gives better results. There was another comment further back in the thread that 'Boaters have shot themselves in the foot and should get back to negotiating' or words to that effect. I'm sorry, but can someone enlighten me as to what it is exactly boaters have done to shoot themselves in the foot, unless it is reading he eviction notice! I don't recall anywhere saying that the boaters had done anything unless someone knows something I don't. I simply relayed the news of the pending eviction of friends and acquaintencies and others from the marina. Roger
  11. Been out all day since I posted earlier and only just got back. A number of points have been raised, some of which I can probably answer and some I can't. There was a comment from Biggles I think, that it was surprising that none of the affected people have responded here. I don't think that is surprising at all, as I have never seen anyone from the affected marina posting here and have never spoken to anyone from that marina who is a member. While I was at Upware marina, I was one of only two people who belonged to this forum although there were about 30 residential boats. As regards official residential status, I can't answer that, although as the Shropshires are major landowners and business people in the area, the local authorities must be in regular contact with them. There have been permanent liveaboards at Popes Corner for far longer than the 8 years that I have been in the area. I can't imagine that the Shropshires, who like to do things properly would have flouted planning regs for so long. Also Upware marina had residention permission for boats so I would be surprised if Popes Corner didn't. At no point did I suggest that Gs are a bad company, infact as I said, they like to promote an image of an environmentally friendly and family run business. They are respected in the area, but it is the actions of the daughter in this instance that is creating the current situation. The issue is not specifically following the attempted imposition of a £550 residential surcharge, but the fact that this surcharge was imposed at the same time as a unilateral increase of 25% on the previous charge. The pre rise cost of the moorings was in line with the other middle of nowhere marinas in the area, and the increase will put it in the same category as the bigger more upmarket marinas such as Hartford and Ely Cathedral marinas. These are both town centre marinas, with full maintenance, workshop, lift out and servicing facilities. They also have easy access to bus and rail routes, plus the expected leisure, shopping and medical centres. None of these are available to Popes Corner which is why the rates have previously matched the smaller more rural marinas. I wonder whether those commenting on the right of the marina owner to add these increases and surcharges would have the same opinion if it was their own moorings, rent or mortgages that were suddenly increased by the same percentage. The addition of the surcharge would add about another 25% to the cost of a 40-45ft boat. Do people really think it is fair to be expected to pay the best part of up to 50% more than last years moorings? There may well be dropout, alchoholic, drug dependent benefit scroungers on boats and marinas around the country, just as there are in the housing sector. Those that I know and have seen at Popes Corner seem to be normal hard working or retired people, with the occasional unemployed , who have chosen to live on boats. I fail to see how taking responsibility for your life means buying or renting a house. If that is the case then my decision to live on a boat instead of committing myself to more years of misery and debt is a sure sign of me giving up my responsibilities. Roger
  12. To give a bit more detail, Davina has worked within the Shropshire organisation for some years and is the daughter of John Shropshire. She has been moved about within their main business 'Gs', and from those I know that have also worked there, she was known as being not very well organised and was shipped out to Spain to help run that end of the organisation. That didn't last long and when she married in 2011, Popes Corner Marina, which sits on a few thousand acres of their land, was given to her as a wedding present. Her new husband is a property developer! G's is a multi million pound business, with thousands of acres of farming land both in the UK and abroad, in addition to fresh food processing and packaging plants. It likes to promote an image of being environmentally friendly, and a family run supportive company. However at Popes Corner, long established wild habitats have been dug up for new parking etc. and trees cut down. As part of their enviromentally friendly improvements, a new bio degradable sewage disposal point for boaters has been installed, with the bacterially cleaned fluids intending to be pumped into the river. Lack of knowledge however, failed to predict that chemical from chemical toilets would destroy the bacteria content and the system would not work. The majority of residents have been there for a number of years and I understand has been a healthy and thriving community. There was also a pub restaurant on the site for many years, The Fish & Duck, which was also demolished by the Shropshires about 5 years ago. There have been various rumours of a new pub being built to replace it. One of the problems for liveaboard boaters seems to be that they have not organised themselves into a publicly recognised independent group, unlike travellers who have raised a high public profile and established a perceived way of life requirement. Liveaboard boaters however, are basically a typical cross section of normal society, who have chosen to adopt a waterborn lifestyle. This means that most just get on with everyday life, working, paying their taxes and not intruding on others. Unfortunately boat dwellers are often viewed by general society as itinerant spongers, or water gypsies whereas the truth is exactly the opposite in most cases. The fact that most liveaboards are just looking for a quiet life means that they are not militant,or geared to protecting any traditional role aggresively in the way that true gypsys and travellers are. It would take a hard core of people prepared to stand and fight to prevent boat dwellers from being treated as second rate inconsequential nobodys. An intense campaign would be neccessary in the public eye, to show that we are ordinary people going about our business, who live alternatively, freeing up housing, minimising use of utilities and living in a green and enviromentally friendly manner. Perhaps local authorities would be more supportive if they were forcibly shown how many people are able to live comfortably in areas where conventional housing would not be practical and with a minimal supporting infrastructure. They would be less than happy to be suddenly expected to provide housing for people who really don't want it. Roger
  13. It's early days as yet, but if they are allowed to get away with it, the repercussions could be big, with other marinas deciding that they can make money from leisure boaters without any need for responsibility or facilities for liveaboards. Of course it could all blow up in their face as the leisure boating industry is in recession and they may have no takers for their new moorings. They might just find that the liveaboard market might be the only way to fill their empty marina again. I'll keep updating as things develop and more information is forthcoming. Roger
  14. Popes Corner Marina near Ely at the junction of The Cam and the Great Ouse, has today (Thursday) given all liveaboards a written notice of eviction. This follows a recent sudden increase in the mooring charges by 25% and a failed attempt to penalise liveaboard boat owners with a £550 liveaboard surcharge. The owners o the Marina are the huge local landowners and international food growers and suppliers Shropshires. The previous managers of the marina were given their marching orders a couple of years ago and the Shropshires have since installed their family member Davina, to run the marina. She has systematically applied all of her lack of knowledge of anything to do with boats and waterways, to modernise the marina and start to give it a more upmarket image as a garden marina. According to a number of friends and acquaintencies who live there, this has resulted in a number of 'improvements' that has resulted in increased difficulties for the over 60 liveaboard boats. This has included the removal of a number of personal sheds, installing of new toilets and showers at a considerable distance from the boats, new car parking prventing owners from parking near their boats in many caes, stopping of craneage for boat blacking and a whole raft of other changes. The recent 25% hike in mooring costs, followed supposedly secret meetings with owners of more upmarket marinas in the area to match mooring costs. One of the local marina owners refused to join in the talks and let slip the information, which is tantamount to price fixing. The attempt to impose the liveaboard surcharge seems to have failed on a legal basis and now a further 3 weeks down the line, a letter has been sent to all berth holders informing them that the marina is to be closed for modernisation and improvements. Liveaboard boaters will not be able to reapply for moorings. The eviction notice gives 13 weeks for boaters to clear the marina.. This means in effect that over 60 liveaboards will be left with no mooring at the very coldest time of the year. Some of those liveaboards have lived there for over 10 years, some with young families settled in local schools, and one woman very ill with cancer who requires weekly treatment. There are not enough alternative moorings in the area for that number of boats, so the Environment Agency are very concerrned that the boats will descend on Ely and surrounding 48 hour moorings in an attempt to continue their lives. I understand that social services are also concerned. What sort of eletist mentality does anyone have to posess to show such a total disregard for people's lives and welfare, in the pursuit of ever increasing greed and profit. Do liveaboard boaters have no rights at all and is the local council suddenly going to be expected to somehow house some of these suddenly desperate people? They have supplied the marina owners with a good income for years, have kept themselves quietly in a comfortable sustainable environment with no pressure on local housing, only to be treated as sub human and of no value whatsoever. I am fortunate that I have moved to a new mooring 3 weeks ago from my long term mooring at Upware Marina, and have a superb new mooring with privacy, land and half the costs, but I am outraged at how many of my friends have been treated by this wealthy family. Roger
  15. My thoughts on the fridge are that firstly, as has already been mentioned, it sounds like a caravan fridge which is not particularly efficient on any of the options. As you are mainly going to be using the boat for weekends and holidays for the forseeable future, I would be inclined to go for a low priced high efficiency modern 240v one. The efficiency compared to your present one will more than compensate for any inverter losses, and the cost will be very small compared with a 12v unit. As your boat will spend most of it's life initially on a mains hookup, then you will not have to worry about battery drain if you leave it on when you are away from the boat. Some boats have all the 240v power routed through the charger, to the batteries, then the inverter, but if you spend a lot of time on mains hookup, you could be better off running a seperate mains socket to the fridge, to avoid leaving the inverter on when you are not there. I'm not convinced on the advantage of having a seperate 12v battery for the fridge, as the fridge will consume 40-50 amps over a 24 hour period. If the battery is 110ah and not a new one, then you will take it down to half charge in just a day of use, or further if the battery is a few years old. As the fridge will be the biggest 12v drain, you could be better off having one domestic bank of perhaps 400ah for all your domestic use, which will save you having to fully recharge your fridge battery every day while you are away from the hookup. Also if you take the 240v fridge option, one leisure bank will allow you to run your inverter from that bank and use it for any 240v appliances that you may require in addition to the fridge. The same logic will apply to a TV DVD. If you will have limited use while cruising, but may want to use your TV/DVD while on the hookup, then you may be better going for 240v. If you intend to use it most of the time only when cruising, get a 12v one if available at a similar price, as there will be no point using an inverter to convert 12 -240v if you can run the TV on 12v in the first place.. Roger