Sixty-one houseboat owners were braced today for a High Court showdown after claiming they are being driven out to make way for “super boats” for multi-millionaires.
The Chelsea residents say a hike in licence and mooring fees by their landlord, the Chelsea Yacht and Boat Company, is unlawful and will force them to leave.
The group, backed by celebrities including Felicity Kendal and Graham Norton, have launched legal action to try to reverse the price increases, after being told to pay up to £75,000 for a licence and up to £800-a-month mooring charge.
CYBC denied trying to push out houseboat owners, and insists the licence charge is based on “independently assessed fair market value”.
The legal battle was due to be fought at the High Court in a four-day trial starting today.
A petition backing the boat owners has been signed by 10,000 people.