West Londoners have raised £6,000 in just one week to protect boatyards on a famous private island on the River Thames from development.

Twickenham businesses and residents raised the cash to apply for special protection for boatyards on Eel Pie Island so it’s harder to build on them.

Locals threw their support behind the campaign from Eel Pie Island Association, a group of businesses, leisure clubs and residents, after the JustGiving page launched in September.

Supporters said the boatyards are important to the island and must be kept how they are.

The island was once a hotspot for world-famous musicians, with the Rolling Stones, The Who, Genesis and Pink Floyd all playing at the Eel Pie Island Hotel before it burnt down in 1971.

The island is still home to a thriving boating community, residents and artists’ studios which are open to the public two days a year.

Eel Pie Island Association will now make a fast-track application to Historic England as part of its bid to get heritage asset status for the infrastructure used by the island’s boatyards, which employ locals.

If the bid is successful, their importance would be considered as part of any future planning applications so they can be protected from development.

A statement from the Eel Pie Island Association on the JustGiving page says the community is committed to keeping “employment land over residential land”.

It says: “Eel Pie Island’s boatyards are part of the rich heritage and culture of the Thames at Twickenham and the local community.

"We wish to protect Twickenham’s working waterfront which gives the area its character and provides employment.

“Many hundreds of boatyards once existed along the tidal shores of the Thames between Wapping and Teddington Lock.

"Today less than 20 remain along that same stretch of river.

"Nine of these are in the borough of Richmond, including the Eel Pie Island sites which currently house four separate businesses.

"The threat of redevelopment for residential use is ever present.

“The essential infrastructure of slipways, hardstanding, docks and wharfs are what makes the boatyards viable.

"They provide river-related industry in the heart of Twickenham and create an ever-changing vibrant visual environment for the public.

"Current planning guidance offers a degree of protection, but these sites need heritage status to ensure they remain active and functional for future generations.”

Supporting the JustGiving initiative, Heather Ganf wrote: “Let’s support the skills and hard work of all who contribute to the boat yards.

"The studios and environs are rich and unique.” 

Madeleine Jensen also called the boatyards “too precious to lose”.

Another commenter, who didn’t give their name, said: “The river is the very heart of Twickenham.

"Respect its spirit, its industry and vitality. Once the historic diverse beauty is developed for wealthy housing the soul is lost for ever.” 

Eel Pie Island Museum added: “The boatyards have been an integral part of the island since the 1890s – let’s keep it that way.”