Leading Cambridge Labour Councillors are committed to taking action where needed to tackle over-sized tour groups in central Cambridge – and to continuing the success of the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) limiting the anti-social behaviour by punt touts in the city centre.

In the recent City Council consultation on whether to extend the current PSPO, which makes it an offence for touts to sell punt tours in the city centre, a number of the public comments specifically complained about the impact of large groups of walking tours blocking pavements especially on King’s Parade.

In response, Cambridge City Council have included a recommendation to address these complaints in Thursday’s report to the council’s Environment and Community Committee.  This commits the Council to:

Monitoring the situation with regard to how walking tours are being sold and also monitoring the frequency of excessively large tour groups in the city centre including on King’s Parade this summer by:

a) Advising coach companies and tour groups and other organisations hosting large visitor groups that the City Council supports a maximum of 20 people in any single group, and;

b) Reviewing the issue of walking tour groups and reporting to Committee in January 2020 if the problem of large walking tour groups persists, including considering the option of consulting on a Public Spaces Protection Order and other options to set a maximum tour group size if there is assessed to be a serious problem.

Other measures, including plans to install a daytime barrier to vehicles along the main stretch of King’s Parade, will also improve the situation and help make it safer for visitors on the most congested road in the city.

Councillor Rosy Moore, City Council Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and the City Centre said;

“We are a welcoming city to the many visitors that we have coming to visit family and friends, are here for work or on holiday. Together with ‘Visit Cambridge & Beyond’ we have been working to improve the visitor experience while limiting the impact of tourism on our residents.

“One of the negative impacts has been the increasing number of over-sized tour groups of up to sixty at a time which can block our narrow pavements and even roads at times. Like the University colleges and Visit Cambridge tours have done already, we will be encouraging tour companies to cut out over-sized walking tours.  Depending on their response, we will then consider whether or not to use powers we have early 2020 to end excessively large city centre tour groups.”

City colleague Councillor Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety, added;

“It is great to hear recognition from the public and city centre businesses, in response to the punt touting PSPO consultation, that the previously serious anti-social behaviour caused in central Cambridge by unregulated punt tour companies is now fundamentally reduced.

“We will continue to keep the effectiveness of touting controls under review.  And we will also review other anti-social behaviour in the city centre to see how best we can address each issue, including tackling over-sized tour groups, and enable people to enjoy their time in Cambridge. It is only right that local residents and our visitors are free to enjoy our wonderful city.”

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