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High Court grants injunction to ban Cambridge punt touts operating from council land

By Ben Comber

Tourists on punt trip along River Cam near Bridge of Sighs of St Johns College
Tourists on punt trip along River Cam near Bridge of Sighs of St Johns College

Unlicensed commercial punt touts 'created a major antisocial behaviour problem in the historic heart of our city' says leader Cllr Lewis Herbert.

The council’s riverside land, including land at Garret Hostel Lane, is being used by unauthorised punt operators at locations that are not authorised punt stations.

A High Court hearing took place on May 9 and 11. Decisions could only be made public today.

The judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, granted the council’s injunction request. The court order includes a requirement that there is a payment towards the council’s costs in seeking the injunction.

Now that the High Court has granted the injunction, unauthorised use of the council’s land at Garret Hostel Lane, Jesus Green, Thompson’s Lane, Jubilee Gardens, Granta Mill Pond, Quayside, Silver Street and Sheep’s Green for commercial punt activity is prohibited.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of the council, said: “These businesses have operated on our land without ever obtaining permission and created problems for pedestrians and cyclists by obstructing the highway. They have created a major antisocial behaviour problem in the historic heart of our city due to their invasive and thoughtless touting.

“We know that nuisance related to the activities of unauthorised punt operator businesses as they seek to attract customers continues and we will keep working to address it.”

“It is welcome news that the High Court has granted our injunction application because it means we can stop the unauthorised use of our land at Garret Hostel Lane and other open spaces including Jesus Green and Sheep’s Green.

“We recognise the importance of punting to Cambridge and we will continue to support the diverse range of 11 different punt operators from the punt stations approved by the Cam Conservators.

“Our approach to this injunction, and the wider matter of punting, has been about pursuing what is best for Cambridge, including balancing the views of local residents and councillors with congestion, environmental and planning considerations.”

The council has said for many years that it wants the unauthorised use of its land for commercial punting to stop. This injunction application was the most recent attempt to stop it.


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