Oxford City Council has concluded its public consultation on the draft Waterways PSPO following detailed discussions with residents and stakeholders.
Officers will be recommending to the City Council’s Executive Board that the draft Order should not go forward in its current form, and that a detailed review is undertaken of the ways in which the city’s waterways are being used and how the opportunities which they present could be developed.
This would include a view of increasing the number of temporary and permanent mooring spots, improving services for boaters and further promotion of the city as a tourist destination.
The City Council, following complaints from local residents at various points on Oxford’s waterways, drew up a draft PSPO (Public Spaces Protection Order) last March to tackle the reported public safety and anti-social behaviour issues.
The draft Order for consultation indicated a number of issues which could potentially be tackled through an Order of this type.
Over the last year, officers have met with boat owners, riparian home owners, landowners and statutory bodies to talk through the proposals, and gain knowledge about life on the waterways and the experiences of anti-social behaviour.
Meetings were held with interested parties, City Councillors and officers visited the waterways, and the stakeholder consultation received more than 30 responses.
Following these discussions, officers are recommending not to take forward the PSPO in the form that was proposed last year.
Instead, they will draw up alternative proposals designed to improve public safety and address anti-social behaviour in four specific areas:
- Castle Mill Stream
- Aristotle Lane
- Aston’s Eyot
- The south bank of the River Thames between Folly Bridge and the southern Ring Road
Officers will now look at each of the four areas and come up with action plans, involving local stakeholders, to address the specific issues in each location.
These recommendations will be taken to a future Executive Board meeting in the spring for decision.
On top of this, it has become clear that it would be timely to conduct a review of the number and types of mooring spaces across Oxford’s waterways, and of services for boaters.
Councillor Dee Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Community Safety, said: “We knew there was anti-social behaviour taking place across Oxford’s waterways, but before the engagement we did not have detailed knowledge of where this was taking place or the best way to tackle it.
“It has been hugely insightful and valuable to have detailed conversations with stakeholders, particularly those from the boating community, to get their views and experiences. We have listened to these insights and ideas, and we have made changes to our proposals to reflect them.
“This is how the City Council likes to work: we are told about a problem, we talk to those affected and, together, we find the right approach to address the situation.
“We will tackle the evidence of public safety issues and anti-social behaviour in other ways, and work with the police and other partners to tackle such behaviour where it occurs. The PSPO route is, we feel, too unwieldy to be appropriate.
“Finally, we would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation process.”