Punt tours setting off from by Magdalene BridgeJorge Rayan/Wikimedia Commons

The City Council is set to extend rules banning punt operators from touting in much of the city centre.

Before the measures were introduced in 2016, punters were free to roam the city and advertise their tours to passers-by.

This led to overcrowding on King’s Parade and bottlenecks on Garret Hostel Lane as rival companies competed for tourists on Cambridge’s main thoroughfares.

Following hundreds of complaints, the Council enacted a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to ban the punting companies from operating on council land - effectively barring them from much of the city centre.

Punt advertisers are now only allowed at a number of “specified touting locations”: on Quayside between Magdalene Bridge and Jesus Green, on Silver Street and Queens’ Green, and in front of Trinity on Garret Hostel Lane. Touts found elsewhere face a £75 fine.

After consulting with police, councillors, and landowners, the Council decided to extend these rules for another year on Thursday (24/3).

Labour Councillor Alex Collis said she was “pleased” that they will remain in place.

“It’s important that local communities have the option of using this carefully targeted measure to tackle behaviour which is affecting the quality of life where they live, work or spend time”, Collis continued.


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The rules caused controversy when they were introduced, with punt touts initially continuing to work on King’s Parade.

Speaking to Varsity in 2016, ex-Councillor George Owers did not mince his words, calling punt touts “profiteering thugs” who were “legendarily loutish and unpleasant”.

One operator, Traditional Punting Company, resorted to issuing employees with body cameras in a bid to prove that they were doing nothing wrong.

However, after the Council received 16 complaints of aggressive or rude touts, and issued 60 fines in the first year of the order being in place, it tightened the restrictions, banning touts from Garret Hostel Lane.

Traditional Punting Company’s owner, Sam Matthews, told Varsity at the time that the stricter rules had forced him to lay off 65 staff.