Judge sinks hopes for boaters to stay in Tonbridge

    The Barden Boaters

    TONBRIDGE is set to ‘lose a part of the town’s history’ after the residents of the Barden Boatyard were told they must leave their home on the River Medway.

    The 14 members of the mooring have been locked in an ongoing dispute with the landowner, a ‘Mr Mockford’, since October 2016. It is believed he wanted to evict the boaters to use the area for residential development.

    They did not leave, believing they had a right to remain at the 25-year-old mooring. The judge at Hastings County Court on Monday disagreed, ordering them to leave by June 30. They have also been landed with a £23,000 legal bill.

    The boaters are considering an appeal.

    “We were surprised and absolutely gutted to hear the verdict,” said Jonathan Siadaway, 47, who has lived in Tonbridge for 25 years.

    “It’s a great mystery where we will go. It’s the dissolution of the community.”

    An online fundraiser was set up three weeks ago, already raising more than £1,300 toward their legal costs.

    “We are overwhelmed by the support and sincerely thank the people of Tonbridge for the courage it has instilled in us,” added Mr Sidaway.