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Floating bar given the go ahead to sell alcohol on the River Cam in Cambridge


By Adrian Curtis


Self hire punters - will you be buying a beer from the new floating Cambar on the river Cam?
Self hire punters - will you be buying a beer from the new floating Cambar on the river Cam?

Will you be buying some booze from the floating bar while on the Cam this summer?

Cambridge city council has sanctioned plans to sell alcohol from a floating punt on the river Cam.

Landlady Carmel Williams, who runs the Chandos Arms in Weston Turville, Bucks, applied for the license to serve beer, wine and other light refreshments from the ‘Cambar’ on a section of the river known as the ‘Backs’ during the summer.

Despite objections from King’s College and the Conservators of the river Cam, the council’s licensing sub committee approved the application.

Ms Williams said: “I am proposing to sell alcohol and light refreshments from a wide-beam punt on the river Cam in Cambridge on the middle section.

“The premises is a wide-beam punt of the type commonly seen on the river during the summer months. The vessel will be divided into two sections both of which will be covered and serve as a storage area.

“Customers will be able to enjoy their drinks and refreshments on their own punt. I will be attaching fenders to the vessel to reduce the impact of any collisions and ensure there is no chance for fingers of limbs to become trapped and injured in the event of an accident.”

The punt will serve alcohol from 11am to 7pm in the evenings, extended to 8pm on Friday and Saturday and run from April to October. The sale of alcohol is for consumption off the premises.

Ms Williams added: “I am very experienced at running a licensed premises in line with the licensing objectives having been a landlady for several years. As a designated premises supervisor, I will personally make or authorise each sale.”

The punt will not operate at night and will be moored at Quayside, Bridge Street.

However, the plan was not without objection and John Adams, acting river manager of the Conservators of the River Cam, said: “Previous experience of a floating wine bar operating in a manner proposed for this application indicates a high probability of obstruction to navigation, while the bar is trading and stopping mid-river while doing so.”

Dr Keith Carne, First Bursar, King’s College added: “We think this would cause disruption on the river would encourage drinking in dangerous circumstances and would add to the disorganisation of punting. We believe it is not appropriate to serve alcohol from the river.”



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