Touts will still be allowed in some designated areasTanya Hart

Punt tour touts are to be barred from operating in certain areas of central Cambridge from the 15th September, it has been announced.

Cambridge City Council’s new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) will make it a criminal offence to tout for punt tours in specified areas of the city, including King’s Parade, with anyone who breaches this being likely to face a £75 fixed penalty notice.

The measures are being introduced in the wake of a council consultation in which 61 per cent of respondents were in favour of a PSPO being implemented to tackle nuisance punt touting.

The police and Cambridgeshire County Council have both lent their support to the measures.

Leader of the City Council, Councillor Lewis Herbert, said that the new order “will limit touting for punting business to agreed locations near authorised punting operations,” reflecting the Council’s “determination” to end the "repeated interference in the lives of residents and tourists, wandering peacefully through the city centre”.

“We will investigate any reports we receive about continued punt touting in the city centre that is in breach of the PSPO and away from river-based punting operations,” he added.

Speaking to Varsity, former Councillor, George Owers, said: "[f]or years, we have had to put up with the nuisance of touts - who are operating illegally, trespassing and using unlicensed punt stations - harassing and insulting residents and tourists." 

"Their behaviour is legendarily loutish and unpleasant, and the council has received numerous complaints about it. The people who run these illegal punt operations are profiteering thugs, and that's all there is to it," he continued.

When asked about whether they supported the PSPO, a second-year English student told Varsity that they enjoyed “walking past punt touts with the weight of my degree plastered over my face and seeing them back away slightly, knowing not to bother asking.”

The order will cover the majority of the city centre, with the exception of “specified touting locations.” These will be: beside the river at Quayside, Silver Street, the Trinity College frontage at Garret Hostel Lane, Queens’ Green, and the walkway from Quayside to Jesus Green (La Mimosa), provided that certain conditions set out in the order are met.

The change may go some way to relieving congestion on King’s Parade, which is notoriously difficult to cycle down on some days.

“Tell them to ban the tourists as well,” a second-year Natural Scientist told Varsity.

“Seriously, though, towards the summer it was quite annoying with all the people taking selfies and stuff. I didn’t really make a distinction between punt guys and tourists.”