Save Independent Punting

Initial response to council proposals

The following letter was presented at the council meeting on 21st January 2008 and sent to members of the council following that meeting. It was largely ignored.

18th January 2008

Dear Sir / Madam

We commend the city council in offering an opportunity to independent punt operators to run their business from an established city mooring. We would like to express our support for the proposed initiative, which we believe will help regulate both the number of punt touts and their behaviour.

Regarding the City Centre Management service plan, we would like to see an amendment to "Service Objective 3: Maintain an enjoyable city for all" to read:

a) Work with Property and the anti social behaviour team to develop and manage a badging scheme for commercial punt operators to control the proliferation of punt touts.

The current wording specifies a badge scheme for independent punt operators only, which we feel is not only discriminatory but also unhelpful for the resolution of the problem.

Regarding capital bid C1712/C1713 ("provision of pontoons for La Mimosa punt station" and "operation of La Mimosa punting station") we would like to outline the following concerns.

  • Health & Safety - In the event of an accident what would be the liability for individual licensees working in a communal environment from a city council property?
  • Disabled Access - Currently the access points to the station do not provide for disabled access. Given the lack of proper / effective disabled access at every other punting station in the city we believe this is an important issue to address.
  • Licensing Fees - In particular, how have the proposed fees been arrived at? How will they rise over time? We assume that the council has cross-referenced these figures against those paid by other commercial punt operators and other council tenants.
  • Contractual Terms - One of the key risks identified in the project appraisal is non-take up by punt operators. Previous council assessments of the La Mimosa station have identified the low footfall of the area and thus for the station to be commercially viable we believe it important that licensing terms do not preclude touting for business in an area with higher footfall e.g. Quayside. We also believe the criteria used for approval of licensees should be transparent.

Thank you for considering our views.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Campbell, Jamie Collinson, Ashley Dalton,

Julian Fowler, Simon Godfrey, Nick Maseychik

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