(Not quite so) recent developments
30th May 2008
Independent punt operators who had failed to take up the spaces offered to them on the landing stage were given until today to complete their applications.
26th May 2008
A step too far?
Because of the inclement weather most punt operators were not working for the Sunday or Monday of the bank holiday weekend. However, at some point on the Monday it was discovered that someone had deliberately vandalised the smaller landing stage, causing damage to part of the newly renovated boardwalk and throwing the wooden steps into the river.
24th May 2008
The final bank holiday weekend until August arrived and with it one day of sunshine in true British bank holiday style. Along with the weather came the tourists and punt operators were keen to make the most of the one day they could work.
At some point the chain had been removed from the gate to the smaller landing stage adjacent to La Mimosa, restoring public access to the river at this point. However one of the punt operators working from the larger landing stage decided to lock it again. She was asked to remove the chain but refused, so a member of the public took it upon themselves to remove it and restore access. Both the chain and lock were returned to the punt operators working from the larger landing stage.
Both the owner and general manager of Scudamores punt company took great interest in the goings on and were seen on Quayside, the boardwalk and Jesus Green during the day.
17th May 2008
During their first Saturday of operation the 3 independent punt operators working from the larger La Mimosa landing stage benefitted tremendously from bookings provided by other independent punt operators.
12th May 2008
The La Mimosa punt station was opened following the completion of the maintenance work. Due to the weather none of the 3 operators who had signed up and completed their applications worked.
At the same time, the smaller landing stage adjacent to the larger one being rented to punt operators should also have been made accessible to the public. However it was kept locked shut. There seems to be some dispute over the ownership of this smaller landing stage.
9th May 2008
Cease and desist
A letter is sent to independent punt operators stating that as of Monday 12th May 2008 they must not use City council owned land without permission, or else!
1st May 2008 pm
Not very professional
Once again the Cambridge City council have shown how the really view independent punt operators. The council held its meeting with Scudamores to discuss the proposed changes to the tout zone before the weekend. Last week they assured successful La Mimosa applicants that the tout zone would be reviewed and an answer would be provided within 1 week. They also went out of their way to assure Jamie Collinson and Tim Campbell that the City council's decisions were not being led by Scudamores punt company.
Today, having heard nothing from the council, a couple of independent punt operators contacted City council officers directly. Why haven't the City council contacted independent punt operators? Why, having gone to great lengths last week to insist that they are not being led by Scudamores punt company, have they come up with a minor alteration to the touting that is not any of the suggested solutions provided by independent punt operators but clearly heavily influenced by Scudamores?
1st May 2008 am
A week ago the City council told the successful applicants for the La Mimosa punt station that it would review the touting zone and provide a response within a week. Nothing has been heard from them yet... Local elections are being held today. It's a pity that council officers can't be voted out.
24th April 2008
The County council Highways department are in the process of doing some repair and renovation work to the boardwalk. The work was scheduled to start earlier and last for 21 days. As part of the work the La Mimosa landing stage is going to be redone prior to its opening. The current expected opening date will be around the first week in May.
The City council, in a meeting with the independent punt operators offered spaces on the La Mimosa punt station, agreed to review the touting zone. Overall the tone of the meeting was positive and the Council's response was welcomed by those in attendance.
Following the main meeting, Tim Campbell and Jamie Collinson were asked to stay behind for a further meeting with John Cowin, Phil Doggett and Alastair Roberts. During this meeting the City council officers made reference to Freedom of Information requests that had been made to the City council and requested that they either be scaled down or withdrawn.
21st April 2008
The City council agreed to reduce the public liability requirement to £3m based on information from a number of independent punt operators. This was broadly welcomed by those concerned.
18th April 2008
Live on 209 radio
Tim Campbell will be doing an interview on 209 Radio at about 4:30pm on Friday 18th April 2008 about the current status of independent punting.
14th April 2008
So much for freedom of information... The City council have refused to provide any of the information requested in a
Freedom of information request submitted by Tim Campbell on 13th March 2008. The request was as follows:
"All correspondence and minutes of meetings between Scudamores Punting Company and their solicitors Pinsent Mason and Cambridge City council (officers, councilors) and their solicitors." between October 2007 and the date the request was submitted.
The request was denied on the grounds that "the information that has been requested falls within the legal professional privilege exemption." All the information apparently, not one single thing isn't covered by it...
12th April 2008
The winners are in
The successful applicants for places on the La Mimosa station received their notifications this morning along with their
total number of spaces they have been allocated. Initially it would appear that spaces have been allocated for 7 ferry punts and
either 6 or 7 single punts. If 7 single punt spaces have been allocated then it would mean that the City council have made more
space available than they originally intended. In total either 8 or 9 independent punt operators have been offered spaces.
The City council appear (for the most part) to have chosen people with a proven track record of working as independent punt operators. This would seem to indicate that they are trying to ensure the success of the project. However, they have still not shown any intent to change the touting zone before the station opens, something that is key to the commercial success of the operators who will use it.
8th April 2008
Tim Campbell does an interview with 209 Radio. The broadcast date has yet to be finalised but we will let you know as soon as it has and we are hoping to get hold of a copy that we can make available for download.
6th April 2008
An opinion piece written by Tim Campbell on the current situation and an associated survey have been published by Local Secrets. Have your say about what is going on, it will be interesting to see what the results are.
5th April 2008
All quiet on the punting front
Not much is happening at the moment. It feels like the calm before the storm. Scudamores staff on Quayside have started to interfere with independent's touts and steal their customers more aggressively; a couple of independent punt operators have received letters from the City council about their boats being used on Jesus Green and the weekend weather continues to conspire against anyone trying to earn a living. However the fireworks have yet to start...
1st April 2008 pm
Ok so I'm sure that everyone will have realised but just incase; the statement below is in fact an April fool and sadly the City council have shown no sign of moderating their position or listening to reason. With the deadline for applications tomorrow, bizarrely Phil Doggett (Property and Building Services) is on holiday for the next 10 days or so. Why is this bizarre? Well that is the department at the City council the applications are to be returned to and he is in charge of the department. It would appear he is going to be on holiday for the entire time the applications are processed and the successful applicants chosen...
1st April 2008 am
In a surprise turnaround the City council have agreed to drop all touting restrictions for independents and allow as many punts as operators require to be used from the La Mimosa station. Additionally they have declared that Scudamores will not be allowed any touts on Quayside because of their favourable position.