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Cookham Lock Under Threat

posted 22 April 2008

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( Copyright Brilliant TV)



The Environment Agency is proposing  an extraordinary asset strip of 22 of it's lock keepers houses along the River Thames, including one of the remotest - Cookham Lock.

The Lock Keeper's Cottage

Last year's floods cost the insurance industry over 2 billion in claims and at the same time as calls are made for more investment in flood defences across the country, the Environment Agency are looking to make savings by selling off it's lock keepers homes or rent them out as holiday lets!

Lock Keeper Adam Benge

Cookham Lock house is among those listed this week for the chop.

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Cookham Lock

Built in 1837 when the locks went in along the Thames, the houses were built alongside locks and weirs as an exception because it was the only way of getting managers to work these remote and often dangerous jobs. Still among the very poorest paid public jobs, the EA relies on lock-keepers for extremely long unsocial hours, local knowledge and dedicated asset management. On the day we visited Cookham Lock we found Cookham's Lock keeper of 15 years,  Adam Benge , in overalls and life preserver painting the the inside of the lock gates (a job that outside contractors would charge thousands for), offering advice to early seasonal boating folk, and opening and closing the lock up to 60 times a day (quite normal we hear).

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Adam Losing his Smile

Plans for the Cookham Lock keeper's house are to rent it out to holiday makers! One can only guess at the risk to inexperienced families around such a dangerous  place as a lock, the weir and the deep cut. Under these plans lock keepers would be expected to find alternative accommodation in places where affordable housing are at a premium.

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Dangerous Area for Children

In an age where flood plain management and flood defences are extremely high on the public agenda it's absolutely amazing that the EA could ever consider such an outrageousely short term and ill conceived plan.

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We Need Good Lock Keepers

We expect our waterways to be kept safe.


We expect our Lock Keepers to be available on site to manage the facilities for the safe recreation and enjoyment of all.

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A Remote Lock on the Thames


 Save Cookham Lock!


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