Leader Doesn’t Listen

The final meeting of interest was “Strategy and Resources Scrutiny 2” held on 8th February 2008.

At this meeting the leader was asked to consider “Punt Operation in the City of Cambridge” that recommended the commencement of enforcement action on the use of Jesus Green.

Again several of the independents got together and wrote letters for the consideration of the committee, and also instructed a solicitor to outline the competition act concerns of the plan. The leader did not listen and endorsed the recommendations.

Budget secured but where’s the punt station?

The next meeting of interest was of the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on the 21st January 2008 Points raised in the agenda included city centre management planning implement a badging scheme for independent punt touts, and the apportioning of funds for a pontoon to constructed and licensed to independents at the “La Mimosa” punt station. Several independent punt operators sent a letter to the committee asking that language be changed to include reference to all touts, rather than just touts for independent punt operators. The letter also outlined potential problems for the “La Mimosa” station, relating to health and safety, disabled access and licensing terms. The letter was ignored by the city council. Also ignored was the fact that the city does not have vacant possession of the station.

Concerns fall on deaf ears

Prior to the meeting on the 17th several of independent punt operators examined the report from Phil Back & Associates that formed the basis of the review.

We were extremely concerned to find that it was the intention that all commercial punt operators were to be contacted, and yet none of the 17 independent operators we spoke to had been consulted.

Considering that the consultation only drew 19 respondents we felt that there was a grievous error which needed correcting. An independent punt operator spoke up on these issues at the meeting on the 17th January, but the committee dismissed the concerns.

La Mimosa not available?

In response to registering an interest in the La Mimosa station, the following email was received from Ann Belshaw of Cambridge City Council:

Thank you for registering your interest in operating commercial punts from the landing stage opposite La Mimosa on Thompsons Lane.

At present the City Council is unable to progress with offering the site to future punt operators.

However, I confirm your contact details are noted and we will contact you again once the Council is in a position to proceed with the proposal. At this stage we are unable to confirm when the site may become available.

A consultation that doesn’t consult?

In December 2007 Phil Back & Associates were commissioned to design and undertake consultation which would be used in creating a “Review of River Moorings Policy“. This was presented to the City Council in a meeting of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 17th January 2008. The report concluded (amongst other things) that Jesus Green should be designated a no mooring zone, and that the Council should reserve the right to take legal action against anyone using its land without express written permission.

La Mimosa becomes available?

In October 2007 the Scudamores lease on the “La Mimosa” punt station ran out. They continue to occupy the station and are claiming security of tenure.

The Cambridge City Council invited punt operators to ‘register an interest’ in the station with the view to being able to use it in the future.

Find out about the current state of play here.