The service will operate from 1st April till 31st October every yearSimon Lock

Plans for a punt serving alcoholic drinks and refreshments were approved yesterday by the City Council.

The "booze-serving" punt will operate on ‘The Backs’, from Magdalene Street Bridge to Silver Street Bridge, which several Colleges of the University of Cambridge face onto.

The punt will serve passers-by on punts between 11am and 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and between 11am and 7pm from Sunday to Thursday. The scheme will run from 1st April till 31st October every year.

The applicant for the new business, Carmel William, was represented by Mr Brown at the City Council meeting.

Despite initial concerns about public safety, Mr Brown defended the new business proposition saying it was not dissimilar to The Floating Wine Company which operated on a similar basis in 2012 without causing any alcohol-related problems.

However, the idea has attracted critics. King’s College objected to the plans with the college bursar, Dr Keith Carne, voicing his concerns in a letter to the council, “We think this would cause disruption on the river, would encourage drinking in dangerous circumstances and would add to the disorganisation of punting.

“We believe it is not appropriate to serve alcohol from the river.”

John Adams, river manager for the Cam Conservators, opposed the application saying that although it is a nice idea in theory, it will "cause obstruction and will be a public nuisance".

He argued, "Commercial punts tend to focus on the people who use private hire punts, who are normally the least experienced at navigating their boat on the river.

"They have trouble directing their boats towards the punt and river ends up blocked."

He added that the application for the punt-bar was "deceptive" in conveying how much traffic there is during the summer on the River Cam.

Nevertheless, committee members approved the application after an hour of deliberation.

On approval of her application, Carmel Williams said, "I am ecstatic with the result and I’m looking forward to getting to work".

Councillor Donald Adey, sitting member of the committee, welcomed the idea, "It is an exciting and innovative idea and it deserves to flourish.

"There are clearly challenges in operating such a vessel sensibly but if the business works round that, I think people using the river will be delighted."

It is as of yet unclear when the business will begin operating on the River