Save Independent Punting

Something to think about

The following background information is provided along with links to supporting documents (wherever possible, although some of these may be large pdf documents) in order to help provide the reader with a greater understanding of the current situation:

  • The general manager of Scudamores, Rod Ingersent is a member of the Cam Conservators (the body responsible for issuing all commercial punt licences, pontoon licences, etc on the river Cam).
  • The leader of Cambridge City council Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith is a member of the Cam Conservators
  • The Cam Conservators derive the majority of their income from issuing commercial punt and mooring licences
  • Scudamores Punting Company pay nothing to the Cambridge City council for either of their stations on Quayside. The only fees they pay for these 2 stations are to the Cam Conservators and total roughly £7000 a year
  • The landowner of Quayside has not given Scudamores Punting Company permission to use its land
  • The ownership of Quayside cannot currently be established
  • Scudamores Punting company is attempting to claim ownership of an area of land on Quayside
  • Cambridge City council cannot impose any licence restrictions on Scudamores Punting company's operation at Quayside
  • From 2010 the Cam Conservators will not be able to issue mooring licences without the landowners consent
  • Cambridge City council did not enact a break clause in the lease of the La Mimosa punt station that, had it been enacted, would have allowed them to take vacant possession of the station in November 2007
  • The survey that formed the basis of The Review of River Mooring Policy report (pdf 209Kb) on the future use of Jesus Green was not sent to any independent punt operators.
  • In total there were only 19 respondents to the moorings review survey, at least 17 independent punt operators did not get their say.
  • Phil Back consultants who compiled the background report (pdf 163Kb) stated “The numbers involved in this study are small and need to be viewed with caution … a single response could create a difference of over 5% in the result.”
  • Part of the report's conclusions were "There is no activity which receives universal approval, but the most popular is to allow the area to be used for the operation, and to a slightly lesser extent, the mooring of private punts. Commercial punt operations and mooring are acceptable to a substantial minority of respondents."
  • On 14th January 2007 Scudamores solicitors were sent the reports to be considered in the meetings of 17th & 21st January and 8th February 2008 relating to punting, well in advance of those meetings inviting them to make written representations on those reports. Punt Operation in the City of Cambridge (pdf 4330Kb, page 25)
  • Scudamores solicitors Pinsent Masons, in their letter of 16 January 2008 specifically requested (when referring to The Review of River Mooring Policy report page 2. (pdf 209Kb)) "that the recommendation at paragraph 2.1.13(c) should be clarified to ensure that there is an express prohibition of commercial punts mooring at Area A."
  • In the same letter Pinsent Masons "request further details of the City Council's proposals for imposing conditions and regulations on the use of the punt station at La Mimosa." They ask the council to "confirm the intended number of touts that will be permitted to operate at this punt station [La Mimosa], the designated touting zone for these touts and what form of authorisation scheme is to operate to distinguish between lawful touts and 'unlawful freelance operators'." They continue to ask the council to confirm "whether the intention is to provide for only owner/operators of punts at La Mimosa or corporate bodies with employees as well;"
  • The letter continues "Whilst we are encouraged by the proposed action that the City Council is to take as landowner, our client obviously reserves its position to take action against the City Council (as landowner and City Council) in the event that effective enforcement is not taken and maintained."
  • If touting is banned, the large companies with the prime river front locations will stand to benefit the most.
  • Scudamores Punting company has all the prime river front locations.
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