Housing Minister Grant Shapps has urged local authorities to widen their horizons when looking at ways to meet local housing needs and consider how new powers over housing provision and planning can help people choose boats on the water as well as conventional bricks and mortar.
Boats with residential moorings were an example of how unconventional housing could let people live in areas of the country where perhaps they couldn't afford to otherwise.
As new moorings would be eligible for the New Homes Bonus, the minister said that there was a strong incentive for councils and communities to grant planning permission for more residential moorings.
He pointed out that the money planning authorities received could be invested in new marina facilities or waterside recreational activities as well as being used to attract further private investment and drive the regeneration of the often brownfield land around stretches of the country's waterways.
Currently half the population live within five miles of one of Britain's waterways. Not just those living on the water would benefit from the fresh injection of funding, the administration has argued.
Shapps said the Government's commitment to localism should provide an opportunity for giving a new lease of life to living on boats.
Where boaters, councils, navigation authorities and local communities work together, they could create more residential moorings in a bid to increase housing supply in their area, Shapps stressed.
And he said that creating more residential long-term moorings could also help reduce the numbers resorting to unlawful overstaying on the towpath.
He added: "Landlords, councils and communities all have a clear incentive to get more mooring sites in their areas and not become landlocked in their quest to meet local housing needs."
British Waterways has recently published guidance for development of new residential moorings sites.
1 September 2011