At the end of April, the Environment Agency announced plans to sell off 10 lock keepers' houses and rent out 12 more.
As the reaction to this has been building up, British Waterways has hinted that it may be considering doing something similar. A review just announced will look at ways of getting its historic buildings to make "a greater contribution to the cost of maintaining the waterways network". One idea is to transfer property to "specialist associate company part-owned by BW" (to rent out the houses?) while another idea is to sell some of the property top generate money for canal maintenance.
The problem with selling family silver is that once it's gone, it's gone. You can't sell it again. You don't own your heritage any more.
And what will happen once the lock keepers have been moved out and new owners or tenants move in? They may not be canal fans. They may not like the clanking of paddle gear at 6.30 am and demand restricted opening hours. They may not like boats being moored near their pretty cottages.
And what about the waterways staff themselves? Living on site has always had advantages, such as being able to respond quickly to problems.
If BW and EA had properly adequate funding, they would not even need to consider selling their historic property.
You can help the campaign against the sale of Thames lock keepers' houses by asking your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1587.