Graham Norton backs Chelsea houseboat eviction fight

Graham Norton has backed a campaign to block the threatened eviction of 14 houseboat owners who live in a “floating village” on the Thames.

The chat show host said he was “appalled” by the treatment of the residents who have had their mooring licences terminated by their landlord the Chelsea Yacht and Boat Company.

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition backing the houseboats.

Norton, 54, said: “It is completely wrong that ruthless operators should be seeking to evict 14 boat owners who have lived peacefully in their floating homes for decades.” He added that the Chelsea boats were a “fabulous example” of London’s diverse communities and “incredible heritage”.

The campaigners claim that the owners of CYBC, property developers Andrew and Charlotte Moffatt, want to replace the Chelsea Reach community near Cheyne Walk with “super-boats” for the wealthy. 

The Moffats say the fears are unfounded and there are no plans to remove the moorings at Chelsea Reach or at Cadogan Pier. A spokesman said the eviction notices were served on boats that missed a vital safety check deadline. 

He said: “Dry-docking a boat regularly is an essential and fundamental requirement of boat ownership, but a small group of boat owners at CYBC have failed to dry-dock to ascertain and ensure the safety of their vessels. 

“These boat owners are putting the rest of the moorings at risk by failing to comply with the terms of their licences to keep their boats safe.” 

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