The College will consult local campaigners to assess the restrictionsR Boed/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

King’s College have said they will review the swimming ban put in place at Grantchester Meadows last week.

They have also said they will not prosecute anyone who swims responsibly in Grantchester, after a petition against the ban garnered over 18,000 signatures.

King’s College put the ban in place last Thursday, citing “anti-social behaviour” as one of the reasons behind the restrictions. “No swimming” signs were erected on the meadows.

A King’s spokesperson said yesterday: “The advice we have been given would suggest that legally it is not sufficient for us to indicate that entering the river would be ‘at the swimmer’s own risk’, unless we have taken action to prevent swimming. This advice will be reviewed.

“In the meantime we cannot imagine any circumstances under which the college would bring a civil claim against someone swimming responsibly.”

The “no swimming” notice has since been vandalised, while the ban was flouted over the weekend. A spoof notice on King’s College notepaper was also put up at the site, mocking the ban as an elitist decision.

“Dear Peasants”, the notice begins: “The fact that Grantchester Meadows and the river have been enjoyed by and provided inspiration to generations of people is irrelevant, we own the land.”

The ban will be reviewed in consultation with campaigners, with the College agreeing to meet with the local resident, Camila Ilsley, who set up the petition.

Ilsley said: “I’m very happy about the review and that it happened so quickly, but I hope it will be a genuine conversation. Our bottom line is to restore public access to the river without any restrictions.

“Ending our right to access the water cuts out most of the enjoyment. Being able to swim and come to the meadows by boat is a big part of living in Cambridge and has been for donkeys’ years.


Mountain View

‘Anti-social behaviour’ motivated Grantchester swimming ban

“People are carrying on normal swimming, including me. Protest swims are on the horizon, but I’m going to keep out of that while the negotiations are on.”

The College will decide next Tuesday if the signs will be removed from Grantchester Meadows, despite their continuing concerns over anti-social behaviour.

Leader of Cambridgeshire county council, Lucy Nethsingha, commented: “Now is the time for a serious conversation between all the partners about the future management of the area, and I am very glad that King’s is now willing to engage with that discussion.”

Asked whether she would advise local swimmers to continue to bathe at Grantchester, she said: “Swimmers in small groups actually swimming do no harm, but there are real issues when there are large groups larking about at the water edge for the whole summer.”