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Council wades into argy bargy
Buy this photo » The Thames towpath by Abbey Road, looking south toward Osney Bridge, Oxford. Picture: OX62 Greg Blatchford
A STRIP of riverbank where unregulated mooring has caused problems could be taken over by Oxford City Council.
It wants to take control of the grass bank between the towpath and River Thames behind Abbey Road in West Oxford.
It is not known who owns the land and boats are able to moor there for long periods because it is technically private property and the right to the land is not enforced.
Residents said they have suffered for years with problems including anti-social behaviour and welcomed the council intervention.
Abbey Road resident Julian Devay said: “There is a problem with illegal mooring in Oxford generally, on the canal and all over.
“What seems to have happened in the last two years is the Environment Agency appears to have started enforcing mooring on its property, and it has started to displace the problem.
“It is not a suitable place, and it is the very small minority of boaters who seem to want to make a point of mooring where they’re not allowed.” He said residents had been in talks with the council over the problem and most people welcomed the proposed action.
Mr Devay added: “We very much want this to happen and have said we will help with some of the maintenance to take some of the cost off the council. “If this goes ahead we will be very relieved. There would be mooring, but it would be properly set up, which is needed because at the moment you see stakes wrenching the bank apart.”
If the council is successful in acquiring the land, it plans to spend £75,000 on strengthening the walls, growing and protecting the bank.
It will then charge people to moor their boats along the stretch, netting £4,000 a year which it said would cover maintenance work.
In a report to councillors, city council property manager Chris Wood said: “The land is currently unregistered and every effort has been made to establish ownership without success. It is used by boat owners to moor boats. The unauthorised mooring has damaged the bank and some boat owners have engaged in anti-social behaviour which has impacted upon the residents of Abbey Road.”
Jericho and Osney city councillor Susanna Pressel said: “It will help because only the owner is technically able to move on anyone who is moored illegally.”
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